As students are constantly “on the go” with busy schedules—study groups, extracurricular activities, work, and everything in between—it’s easy to forget about car maintenance. Consequentially, if you continue to forget about maintenance checks, your car will retaliate—leaving you in quite the pickle!
Following a basic car maintenance checklist not only keeps your car in good condition but it keeps you safe. Make sure to show your car some love every now and then with this “do it yourself” checklist.
- For starters, giving your car a wash every month is a good idea. Washes are especially important during the colder months since the salt on the road can potentially rust your car.
- Double-check that your headlights, tail lights, and brake lights are working properly.
- Make sure your check engine light isn’t on. If it is, it may be time to see a mechanic.
- Check your tire inflation, tread, and overall condition. Typically, you can find your recommended tire pressure on the sticker inside your driver’s side door.
- Check if you have enough windshield washer fluid—because nobody wants to be stuck on the road with grime in their view!
Some parts of your car will need to be checked on a quarterly basis. Reserve these tasks for the months of January, April, July, and October. Generally speaking, when the seasons change, you’ll want to check these things out.
- Check your battery and cables for signs of corrosion or wear.
- Check your oil. You can find your car’s recommended oil change schedule in your owner’s manual.
- Top off your automatic transmission fluid and power steering fluid.
Twice a Year
We recommend checking these parts of your car when summer and winter roll around.
- Treat your car to wax and seal to protect its finish.
- Check your wiper blades for wear. If they scratch, leave streaks, or appear bent, consider replacing them as soon as you can.
Some parts of your car will require less maintenance than others. For parts that need to be checked once a year, it is easiest to get them checked at the beginning of the year—so you can drive with confidence all year long!
- Ensure your brakes are in good condition, which you can test yourself next time you’re behind the wheel. Are your brakes making strange sounds? Does your brake pedal vibrate or generally feel off? Is it difficult to make a complete stop? It’s best to get your brakes, suspension, and steering looked at by a professional when issues arise.
- Remember to replace your cabin air filter; because nobody wants to breathe in dirty air while along for the ride! This will also keep your AC running smoothly.
Auto maintenance is essential to being a responsible driver and car owner. Just like our physical hygiene, we need to respect and maintain the condition of our cars so they can last for years to come.