Your Go-To Car Maintenance Check List

Monthly Checks

  • Oil and coolant levels

*Although you may not need to physically change your oil every month, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on you oil and coolant levels on a monthly basis. Refer to Mobile Pitstops article Everything You Need to Know About Oil for how to check you oil levels. You can check your coolant levels in the same location under the hood of your vehicle. It’s important to note that if your coolant levels are low you should add more coolant to a cool engine and not while the engine is hot. 

  • Tire Pressures

*As different seasons approach it’s important to make sure you keep a close eye on your tire pressures. Depending on the increase or decrease in external temperature, you car’s tires could also experience pressure changes. Read more about tire pressures in our How to Winterize Your Car blog. 

  • Brake Fluid

*Similar to checking your oil levels, it’s also important to make sure your brake fluid isn’t running low. Brake fluid is introduced when you put your foot on the brake pedal ensuring that you stop properly. If you have insufficient brake fluid levels then air may get caught in your brake lines which can cause improper braking. You can check this by popping your hood and looking for the ‘brake fluid reservoir.’ Take off the cap and check the brake fluid level which should be about an inch from the cap. 

  • Air Filter

*Checking your air filter is another simple check under the hood or typically a local shop will offer this check for you. Your air filter, similar to your household dryer lint filter, should be clear and easily see-through when held up to light. If your air filter is is hard to see through try dusting it off with a few taps. If it is still difficult to see through then it is most likely time to get a new one. Most air filters can be purchased at your local auto parts store at a minimal cost. 

Long Term Checks

  • Windshield Wipers

*Typically you shouldn’t need to change your windshield wipers more than once every year but depending on the weather conditions of where you live you may need to replace them more often. One tip to help maintain the efficiency of your wipers is to lift them off of your windshield in the winter time when it snow to prevent ice build up. 

  • Tires

*Everyone’s tires wear differently depending on the amount of use they get. Generally speaking, tires can last up to six years with moderate use. It’s important to keep an eye on your tire tread and when it begins to wear down. One simple way to do this is to take a penny with President Lincoln’s head facing downward. If any part of Lincoln’s head is is covered by the tread, then your tires are perfectly fine. If his head is revealed, then you should consider getting a new set of tires. 

  • Tire Rotation

*Sometimes your tires will wear down unevenly and one way to preserve them for a longer period of time, you can rotate your tires. It is recommended that you rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. By rotating your tires, you are simply moving your front tires to the rear. It’s important to never switch tires to the opposite side (Ex. Front left tires should be swapped with the rear left tires). 

  • Brakes

*While it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your brake fluid more often you should also make sure your brake pads and rotors are up to standard on a yearly basis. Brake pads will wear quicker than rotors and should be changed every 10,000-20,000 miles. Brake rotors on the other hand have a longer life and should be checked between 50,000-70,000 miles. Both the pads and rotors do work hand-in-hand, so if you do not maintain the pads, you risk damaging your brake rotors at a much quicker rate. 

  • Spark Plus

*It’s important to keep an eye on your car and it the check engine light appears. One of the reasons for this could be your spark plugs. When your spark plugs start to go, it can cause your engine to misfire. The tell tale sign of this happening is that your car is having trouble starting, and most often you will notice this on cold mornings. Other signs that your spark plugs could be on their last leg is that when your car idles, you can hear it. Additionally, your car may have trouble accelerating if your spark plus begin to fade. 

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