Taking the time out for preventive maintenance of your vehicle will not just maximise the life and performance of your vehicle, but will also help you avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Moreover, preventive checkups will also allow you to identify budding problems in the different parts of your car and address them before they turn into expensive or dangerous issues.
Not to forget, investing efforts in ensuring your car is always in the best possible condition will provide you with returns when you decide to sell your car. Well-maintained cars tend to fetch a significantly higher price than cars who’s owners have ignored them for years.
Preventive maintenance tasks can be divided into the following two categories:
- Regular preventive maintenance: These are tasks and checkups you should perform at regular intervals of a few weeks to ensure the parts of your car that are most susceptible to damage and wear and tear are in working condition.
- Long term preventive maintenance: These tasks and checkups are for those robust and durable parts of your vehicle. Long term preventive maintenance (usually conducted at intervals of a few months) may also include checking (and replacing) the various engine fluid levels in your vehicle.
Now that we know the three categories of preventive maintenance, let us look at the maintenance tasks in each of these categories.
Regular Preventive Maintenance Tasks And Checkups
Perform these tasks and checkups at regular monthly intervals. You can perform most of these tasks by yourself.
Check If All The Lights Are Functioning Properly
This task is important to ensure your vehicle does not pose a safety threat on the road. Simply switch on all the lights (brake lights, tail lights, headlights, indicator lights and reverse lights) and make sure all of them are functioning.
Replacing non functional lights is easy and cheap. You can order replacement head lights, tail lights, and turn signal lights online and replace them yourself by referring to the owner’s manual.
Engine/Motor Oil And Coolant Checkup
Low engine oil or coolant levels can lead to serious problems in your car’s engine. Use the owner’s manual to locate both in your car’s engine bay.
Then you can use this guide to check your vehicle’s engine oil and coolant levels.
Ensuring your tire’s have the prescribed amount of air pressure will help you stay safe on the road and maximise the lifespan of your tyres.
Long Term Preventive Maintenance Tasks And Checkups
These checkups can be performed at longer intervals (6 months to 2 years). You may not be able to perform a few of these tasks and may need a professional’s help.
Check The Engine Fluid Levels
During a long term checkup, it is important to not just check the engine oil levels, but also the transmission fluid levels and the levels of the transfer case fluids.
Checking these can turn out to be a complex task and is best left to the professionals.
Flush The Radiator
Flushing the radiator every 2 years is strongly recommended to keep your engine in tip top health. Flushing a radiator is a straightforward task. However, if you are short on time, you can get a professional to do it.
Serpentine/Alternator Belt Checkup
The simple rubber belt on the alternator pulley is a crucial part of your engine. If it isn’t tightly wound, it can cause serious wear and tear to your alternator and other associated parts.
Check The Brakes
Every time you apply brakes while driving, your brake pads and rotors undergo a little bit of wear and tear. Over time, this damage can add up and render your brake pads useless. Regular checkups of the braking system of your vehicle will ensure you don’t find out about your faulty brakes when you are out on the road.
Besides the above-mentioned categories of preventive maintenance, it is also important to perform seasonal preventive maintenance. It is a series of checkups and maintenance tasks that you will perform before the starting of new season (usually winter season). These tasks (like replacing the tyres and wiper blades) are aimed at ensuring your vehicle is prepared to function despite the upcoming changes in the weather.