Many of us are hanging on to our vehicles longer than ever before. In order to protect your investment, performing routine maintenance is essential to keep your car, truck, or SUV running at its best.
The importance of following the manufacturer’s recommendations has become even more critical as the technology of vehicles continues to evolve. Making a modest investment in a tool like ALLDATAdiy ensures that you’ll always have the latest manufacturer information right at your fingertips.
Here is a checklist of common maintenance tasks that can be accomplished by most DIYers and at what intervals they should be performed. It can also help you identify which procedures – depending on your skill level – you may want to hand off to a repair professional.
- Engine oil – Regularly check the engine oil level and quality. Change the oil and oil filter as per the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Air filter – Inspect and clean or replace the air filter regularly to ensure proper airflow to the engine.
- Tire pressure – Regularly check tire pressure using a reliable gauge. Adjust the pressure as per the recommended levels mentioned in the owner's manual.
- Lights – Inspect all exterior lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Replace any burned-out bulbs promptly.
- Wipers and windshield – Check the wiper blades for wear and replace them if they leave streaks or don't make proper contact with the windshield. Ensure the windshield is clean and free from cracks or chips that may obstruct the driver's view.
- HVAC – check air filters and clean or replace as necessary.
EVERY 3 MONTHS:
- Battery – Inspect the battery terminals for corrosion and clean if necessary. Check the battery's overall condition and ensure secure connections.
- Belts and hoses – Inspect the condition of engine belts and hoses for any signs of wear, cracks, or leaks. Replace them if necessary per the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Brakes – Check brake fluid level. If you notice any issues with the brakes, such as squealing or pulsating, consult a professional mechanic.
- Tire tread and condition – Inspect the tire tread depth and overall condition for any signs of wear, damage, or bulges. Replace tires if needed.
- Suspension and steering – Inspect the suspension components and steering system for any signs of wear, loose connections, or leaks. Address any issues promptly to ensure safe driving.
- Exhaust system – Inspect the exhaust system for any leaks, loose connections, or damaged components. Fix any issues to maintain proper exhaust performance and minimize harmful emissions.
- HVAC – check and clean HVAC vents to ensure proper airflow.
EVERY 6 MONTHS:
- Engine oil/filter – Replace engine oil and oil filter
- Fluid levels – Check the levels important fluids such as coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Top up or replace as needed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Spark plugs – Inspect and replace the spark plugs at regular intervals for optimal engine performance according to the manufacturer recommendations
- Brakes – Inspect the condition of the brake pads and rotors. Replace worn-out brake pads and have the rotors resurfaced or replaced if necessary. Verify the functionality of the emergency brake.
- Drive belts – check the condition and replace if necessary.
- Battery – Test and replace as needed according to manufacturer recommendations
- Fuel system – Inspect the condition of fuel lines, hoses, and filters; replace as necessary.
- Alignment and suspension – Inspect and adjust if needed.
- HVAC – Perform cleaning and maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer or schedule servicing the system with a professional, including checking refrigerant levels, cleaning coils, and inspecting the ductwork.
Remember, if you're uncertain about any maintenance tasks or if you encounter complex issues, it's always advisable to seek the help of a qualified mechanic or automotive professional.
Find the most up-to-date factory-direct maintenance schedules, repair information, and step-by-step procedures for your specific vehicle with ALLDATAdiy, as well as the latest Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and recall notifications.
For general information on preventative maintenance and procedures that need to be performed to keep cars safe, dependable, and efficient, check out the 75-page online guide, Be Car Care Aware®. It’s published by the Car Care Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating motorists about the importance of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair through its consumer education campaigns.
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