10 Car Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Car in Top Condition

Car Maintenance

Your car is the thing that brings you quickly to your destination.

As you probably already know, a car is never a good investment as it will lose value very fast. Luckily, you can do things to prevent it from happening that fast – maintain it properly.

It is true when they say: “Your car will serve you properly if you serve your car properly” which means that timely maintenance of your car will be of long-term benefit to you.

Here are my 10 best tips for vehicle maintenance, ranging from simple things to more technical situations:

1. Inspect & Maintain your Air filter

Dirty Air Filter

One of the most basic yet essential components in your car is the air filter. The filter itself may not be a big deal, but its job is critical to your car’s smooth running.

During operation, your car constantly draws air from the atmosphere to mix it with the fuel to be burned. The atmospheric air is definitely not 100% clean, so it is the air filter’s job to filter the dirt and debris out of the air before it enters the mixture; otherwise, your car will not run as smoothly as it should.

So your air filter works constantly while your engine is running and tends to get dirty over time. Therefore, it is advisable to inspect the air filter frequently and clean or change it depending on its condition.

2. Inspect & Maintain your Car Battery

Car Battery Check

As far as tips on vehicle maintenance go, this is one of the most critical. Your car’s battery powers all electrical systems, the lights, and, most importantly, the engine that starts the engine when you turn the key.

If your battery is in poor condition, you’ll probably end up stranded somewhere because your car won’t crank.

Caution is better than indulgence, so it is advisable to check and replace the car battery after 2 to 3 years. Within this period, you should regularly check the battery’s fluid level if it is an acid battery.

You should also maintain charge of your car battery when you are not using your car for a long time. Low battery charge will kill your battery very fast in cold weather.

3. Inspect and change your Engine Oil timely

Check Engine Oil Level

Your car’s engine relies on oil for lubrication, so the life of internal engine components and transmissions depends on oil.

Every book of maintenance tips for your car includes a timely oil change. A car with little oil will eventually break down and require major repairs at a high cost. Sometimes even the engine itself will need replacing.

It is important to check the condition of the engine oil. If you notice that the oil has turned black, it is time for an oil change. Also, change the oil after driving the miles indicated by the oil manufacturer on the oil reservoir.

If there is an oil leak, have it repaired immediately and never drive around with a low engine oil level.

RELATED: 6 Causes of Engine Oil Smells Like Gas

4. Check and Maintain Fluid Levels

Check Coolant Level

We are talking about the power steering fluid, the transmission fluid, brake fluid, and the coolant in your car. All these fluids are as important to your engine as the engine oil.

Your power steering system will not work as it should if the pump or hoses are leaking or if there is not enough fluid in the reservoir.

The Transmission fluid is also as important to the transmission as engine oil is to the engine. With a too low transmission fluid level, you will get big problems with your transmission that can be very expensive to fix.

The coolant has the task of maintaining the engine temperature. Therefore all these fluids should be at full level, and if there is a leak, it should be repaired as soon as possible.

Check your repair or service manual to find all the different fluid reservoirs in your engine bay, and remember not to open the coolant when the car is hot.

RELATED: How Often Should You Replace the Power Steering Fluid?

5. Replace Windshield Wipers

Windshield Wipers Change

The windshield wipers are something you always want to be top-notch. With bad windshield wipers, you will have a tough time seeing things in front of the car during heavy rain or snow. Bad windshield wipers can actually be very dangerous and cause accidents.

Worn windshield wipers can actually also scratch your windshield, which will result in a much more expensive repair cost than just replacing the windshield wipers.

Windshield wipers are often pretty cheap and super easy to replace, so make sure they are changed every now and then.

6. Check and Maintain Tire Pressure

Check Car Tire Pressure

Another decisive tip for vehicle maintenance: This factor has a direct effect on driving comfort and quality. The right tire pressure, which is about 35 PSI depending on your car model, ensures the vehicle’s right control.

The right pressure enables the tires to adhere evenly to the road and then wear down slowly and evenly. Too high or too low pressure also leads to excessive pressure on the suspension struts and suspension.

Nevertheless, it is best to check the pressure of all four tires regularly to avoid these problems. Inflate and maintain your tire pressure is often free, and something everyone can do.

7. Wheel Alignment Every 2 years

Wheel Alignment

One thing that most people do not think about is wheel alignment. A wheel alignment can go bad if you drove into a curb or replaced any suspension parts.

Most people do not think that the wheel alignment will change during the time because of worn bushes.

As you might know, tires are costly for your car. A bad wheel alignment will wear your tires very fast, and therefore we recommend doing a wheel alignment every 2 years.

To do a wheel alignment, you need the right equipment. You can find more about the wheel alignment cost here: Wheel alignment cost.

8. Inspect & Replace Spark Plugs

Car Misfire Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are often overlooked in tips for vehicle maintenance. Depending on your car’s make and model, your car may have 4 or more spark plugs.

Spark plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture in your engine, which is why they get carbon deposits on the tips over time. The carbon deposits then begin to affect ignition timing and spark quality, which directly affects your engine.

After about 50,000 to 80,000 miles, you should have your spark plugs checked. If your mechanic suggests that you replace them, replace all of them, not just the ones that show greater wear.

Spark plugs are often pretty cheap to replace, and it can prevent your car from misfiring, which can help your car maintaining a good condition over time.

RELATED: What is a Fuel Induction Service & Will it Help?

9. Check Brake Pads & Rotors

Checking Brake Pad

No matter where you look for tips on car maintenance, brake system maintenance will always be listed. Braking your car is one of the most critical factors in controlling your vehicle.

The only way for you to slow down or stop your vehicle is to keep the car’s braking system in top condition; this is a matter of safety. Never compromise on the brakes to save money.

There is no mileage limit to have your brakes checked. It is better to have your brakes checked monthly, every 3 months at the very least.

Checking the brakes visually is often pretty easy. Just use a flashlight and check inside the rim and look at the brake rotors and brake pads. Make sure there is at least 4mm or 0.15″ material left on the brake pads (Like the picture above), and make sure there is not too much rust on your brake rotors.

If your brakes have become worse over time, it might be time to replace brake rotors or the brake pads.

10. Lubricate Door Hinges

Lubricate Door Lock

One super easy thing that most people do not think about is lubricating the door hinges every year or more frequently. You may not think this is something noticeable, but if the car has noises while opening the door, it feels like the car is in bad condition.

Lubricating the door hinges is super easy – take a grease spray and spray it into the hinges and the door locks to keep it in good condition.

Written by: Magnus Sellén

Founder, owner & main author of Mechanic Base. I have been repairing cars for more than 10 years, specialized in advanced diagnostics & troubleshooting. I have also been a drifting driver and mechanic for over 7 years.