Prevention is better than cure. Do you know the importance of this phrase to your car? To maximize the life and performance of your vehicle, you should maintain and regularly service your car to prevent any kind of mishaps down the road which can be both dangerous and costly.
There are all sorts of ways to kill a perfectly good vehicle, and one of the most common is to neglect basic maintenance. Driving too long on the same spark plugs, forgetting to change the oil, and turning a deaf ear to squealing brakes or mysterious clunking sounds can mean an early trip to the junkyard for your vehicle.
To make it easier for you to keep track of your car maintenance schedule, we have created a basic checklist on when and what to do when you service your car to help extend the life of it..
Car Service – Short Term
(can be done before you go on a long drive or every month)
Oils and Coolant Level – Before any trip, it’s always best to look under your hood of your car to inspect the oil and coolant level while the engine is off. Low level of these fluids can lead to big damage to your engine or any unnecessary breakdowns along the way.
Air Filter – The function of an air filter is to regulate the air flow into your engine and prevents any kind of nasties from entering your car. By making sure that your air filter is working properly, you can improve your fuel efficiency, decrease your emissions, and help ensure the life of your engine. This can be done easily at home, so check your owner’s manual for instructions and how often it needs to be changed.
Tire Pressure – The number marked on the tires is the maximum amount of pressure that tires can contain. If this capacity is exceeded, it may cause a tire blowout. On the contrary, low tire pressure may lead to wasted fuel and hotter tires.
Tire Rotation – The tread wear patterns on your tires may vary between the front and back tires, or even from one side of the tread to the other depending on your vehicle alignment, usage, and many other factors. Rotating them will help extend the service life by balancing the tread wear and help prevent vibration problems. This should be done at every 8,000 km.
Car Lights – It is important that the lights on your vehicle are properly functioning, but oftentimes it can be easily overlooked. Ask for another person’s help to finish this check. Sit in the car and turn on all the lights and signals and ask him or her if the lights are functioning properly. You can also park your car in front of a flat surface to check if both the headlights are working properly and are well-positioned.
Motor Oil – Motor oil in your engine works in different ways – it lubricates the moving parts, helps act as a sealant against debris, cools the engine, reduces wear and tear, and helps prevent engine corrosion. Depending on your car and what kind of oil you are using, you may need to change both the oil and its filter every 3 months or at 10,000 km.
Car Service – Long Term
Spark Plugs – The spark plugs in your car are used to ignite the car and the air mixtures that eventually powers up your car. If these are not working properly, your engine might not be performing at its optimal capacity. You should have it checked professionally to replace any faulty spark plugs when you feel your engine is not performing properly. You can also get it changed at every 50,000 km.
Serpentine Belt – This simple piece of rubber is essential in keeping your car running by powering peripheral devices such as your alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioner compressor. Visually inspect the belt to ensure that it is free of cracks or other wear and tear. Make sure to replace it based on your car’s manufacturer’s recommendation.
Shock and Struts – The shocks and struts of your car’s function to control the impact of speed bumps and holes on the roads are essential to your auto’s steering system. These should be inspected by a professional every 100,000km or when you notice a decrease in smoothness or loss of control when driving.
Transmission Fluid – Similar to your engine’s oil, this fluid is a lubricant that keep all the moving parts inside your transmission working properly. No matter the transmission (manual or auto), it is important to get this fluid checked and changed whenever necessary to avoid any costly damage down the road. You can either change it every two years or after driving 50,000 km -90,000 km.
Transfer Case Fluid – The transfer case is what shifts power from the transmission to the axles. You’ll need to have the transfer case fluid checked according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations to make certain that it is properly filled and leak-free. This will require you getting under the vehicle, so bringing it into a professional is recommended when you service your car. You can also change this fluid at every 50,000 km. Do take note that this fluid is only applicable for 4 wheel drive cars.
Car Service – Seasonal
(every 6 months to 1 year)
Replace Windshield Wipers – It is recommended that you change your wiper blades every 6-12 months. Windshield wipers are made from rubber, which is degradable, and becomes less effective over time. You should get into the habit of checking your wipers regularly and know what signs to look out for as they begin to wear out. Some of these signs include broken, split, cracked pieces of the rubber, wipers that show signs of steaks on your windshield, bent frames and weird noises when they drag across the glass.
Battery Performance Check – Your car battery is one of the most important components for your vehicle to run. A car battery supplies large amounts of electrical current for the starter, engine, and other electronic accessories in the vehicle. Extreme temperatures affect the performance of the battery so regular battery testing will ensure that battery will perform when you need it to. Make sure to perform a battery check the next time you service your car.
Now that you know when and what you should do you service your car to maintain the performance of it, do follow these tips! Apart from this, if you are interested in selling your used car, make sure to check out CARSOME for more info. CARSOME is an online used car buying and selling platform in Malaysia. Every car from CARSOME goes through 175 inspection points and is CARSOME Certified.