Routine maintenance is the most cost-effective approach to keep a vehicle on the road for years to come. You commonly do not need to replace tires, brakes and other components immediately when they begin to fail. If you maintain a vehicle according to the guidelines below, you can expect the engine and other major components of the vehicle to last the life of the car.
- Check the tire pressure of all four tires. If one or more tires is significantly under-inflated, it can increase your risk of a tire failure, vehicle rollover or accident. Under-inflated tires can also be dangerous on wet roads as they lose their adhesion and create possible skidding situations.
- Inspect the inside and outside of all four tires for cracks, cuts, debris or other damage. Check that all of the tire valve stems are not cracked. Check the tire valve stem for cracks at the base. If any stems appear to be damaged, replace them as they can break causing a tire to lose air or even cause a blowout.
- Check the condition of the spare tire and jack. A flat tire can make it difficult to maintain or climb steep hills. In the worst case, it can cause a vehicle crash and result in injuries. Check the condition of the tire and replace it if it is worn, damaged or lacks a jack and lug wrench.
- Inspect the fluid levels in all the tires. The fluid levels should be checked monthly. If they appear to be low, fill them up completely as recommended by the manufacturer’s manual.
- Inspect the brake fluid levels in all four corners of the vehicle. A low fluid level can result in a lack of effectiveness when braking. Refill the fluid as needed.
- Inspect the fluid levels in the steering wheel and clutch master cylinder. A low fluid level in these components can cause the vehicle to have a hard time steering or making a clutch when in gear. Refill as needed.
- Inspect the condition of the wiper Blades. The windshield wiper fluid in the vehicle should be changed at different intervals throughout the year depending on the type of weather you typically experience. If the fluid looks dirty, replace it with new fluid before it fails.
- Check the condition of the engine oil. The manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval for your vehicle is listed in your owner’s manual. On average, the oil should be changed every 3 months. Do this check as well as the fuel system and reflood the tires with the updated recommended fluid.
- Fill the gas tank to the halfway point with fuel. Fill the tank to the recommended level so that every fill contains the recommended amount of fuel. Follow the instructions on the fuel cap.
- Inspect the fuel cap. A loose or broken fuel cap can leak when in a crash and cause a fire. Check the condition of the fuel cap and secure it tightly if needed.
- Using a flashlight or a pen with a light, check all of the connection points in the electrical system. These include wires, connectors and ground points. A loose wire or Improper ground connection can allow electricity to flow through it which in turn can start a fire and cause battery acid to leak. Check all connections and secure them properly.
- Put all of the key chains, glow sticks and any other items that can catch fire in a safe location. This includes anything that resembles a lighter or flame.
- Turn on all of the ignition switches and check for any leaks. As each one is turned on, double check for leaks.
- Check the vehicle’s battery. If the battery is wet, let it sit for a while to dry. If it is leaking, secure it properly since moisture can cause a battery to leak.