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The Car Maintenance Checklist Everyone Needs

car maintenance

While you should take the car to a trusted garage for most things, there are times that you should be tackling things yourself.

Learning how to take care of your car is a life skill that will come in handy – even if you aren’t quite sure when that will be. What makes learning general car maintenance even better is that it is a skill that you can hand down to your children or one that you can expand on.

Your car is a big commitment and an investment that is worth learning to take care of properly. It doesn’t matter if you have free maintenance because you have a car finance deal or that the car is about 7th hand and just about works.

Either way, keeping it in good driving order is a must.

Here are some things you should be doing to make sure you keep your car in good working order, smelling great, and clean.


Having clean windscreens is essential for driving safely, and if you happen to run out when you are on a long trip, you could run into trouble – you might be surprised just how quickly your screen gets dirty.

In many places, it is illegal to drive without having some level of screenwash in the car.

Make sure that once a week, you check the levels and top up as required. Once you get into this habit, you won’t be caught short again.


There are a few things you need to keep an eye on when it comes to your tires. Firstly you should be looking at the tread – do you have the legal limit? If your tires are going a little bald, they begin to lose the optimal amount of grip on the road.

Driving with tires that have less than the legal amount can cause you to be slow to break, and this can cause accidents.

As well as the tread, you should keep an eye on the air in the tires. If there isn’t enough air in the tires, they can wear out faster than you might like. Too high or too low air pressure in your tires can cause them to have a shortened lifespan.


If you don’t drive often, then a dead battery is much more likely to happen, but if you drive regularly and don’t have any battery issues, you should look to replace your battery every three years.

There are a couple of signs that your car battery needs to be replaced:

  • Failure to start
  • Slower than usual time to start the engine
  • Battery light on the dashboard
  • Dim lights
  • An odd, acidic, or rotten smell coming from the car
  • The battery is more than two years old


When was the last time your car went in for a service? If you haven’t been regularly taking your car to be serviced, it’s time to check!

It is recommended that you have your car serviced a minimum of 12,000 miles or at least every 12 months.

If you have the car’s manual, you might find a recommended outline for how much mileage your car should have between services.

Beep beep

This might be one of the more annoying things to test, but it is important that you do check it regularly. Your car horn is what you can use to alert pedestrians and other drivers to potential dangers.

Once a week, hit the horn so that you know it is working correctly. If it sounds wobbly or weak, get the car book into your local garage to have it fixed.


Brakes are an essential function within the car, but they should be tested properly from time to time. If you haven’t performed an emergency stop since you passed your driving test, it’s time to do one.

You can either drive somewhere quiet or use your own driveway to test out doing an emergency stop. You can also test the brakes – and pay close attention. Do they feel spongy? Do they make a noise when you brake?

If you notice anything that doesn’t feel right, it’s time to book your car in for a check-up with the professionals.


Before you head off on any journey, you should test all of your lights. Dimmed, sipped, full beams, and more if you can have someone check around the car while you test all of the lights.

These small checks, when done regularly, could save a life or help you to avoid fines, breakdowns, or being stranded due to a dying battery.

If you are considering using your vehicle to make some cash, then here are some great options: Careers That Put You in the Driving Seat.

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