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Ensure Safe Road Trips With A Car Maintenance Checklist

Optimize car performance and longevity using our basic car maintenance checklist. Ensure the roadworthiness of vehicles by following our hints.

What Is a Car Maintenance Checklist?

Looking after a car’s health through regular maintenance makes good sense. Proper maintenance will ensure the vehicle performs well, is safe, and gives its owner many years of good service.

Regular maintenance will prevent small issues from developing into big problems. The old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” is very much at play here! A well-maintained car will also have a better resale value should the owner want to sell it.

The use of car maintenance checklists will ensure that no essential parts of the vehicle’s maintenance schedule are missed or neglected.

  • Our basic car maintenance checklist will ensure these areas are routinely assessed.
  • Our regular car maintenance checklist covers maintenance that should be performed consistently.

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. How to use a basic car maintenance checklist

2. The content of a regular car maintenance

3. How to collect car maintenance data more easily

How to Use a Basic Car Maintenance Checklist

Most vehicles need a basic service at least once a year, but doing it every six months is even better, particularly if the car is heavily used. Oil and coolant levels and tire pressure should be routinely checked whenever petrol is put in the car, particularly before any long trip. Any car or vehicle owner should be familiar with their owner’s manual.

Our basic car maintenance checklist will ensure that all the important maintenance issues are attended to. These are the items on the checklist:

  • Check the tension of the seatbelts and whether the buckles are working well and smoothly.
  • Make sure the car hooter/horn works.
  • Perform a thorough check of the lights:
    • Are the headlights working, and are the settings correct, i.e., high beams, dipped, park, and fog?
    • Do the indicator and hazard lights work properly?
    • Do the brake and reverse lights work?
    • Replace any bulbs if needed.
  • Check that the handbrake is working well and will hold the vehicle even on a steep slope.
  • Perform a thorough check of the tires:
    • Are the tire pressures as per the manufacturer’s specifications?
    • Is the depth of the tread still acceptable?
    • Does the car have a spare tire in good condition?
    • Does the car have a functional jack and toolkit?
    • Should the tires be rotated to ensure even wear?
  • Check all windscreens and mirrors for cracks.
  • Can the side mirrors be adjusted from inside the car?
  • Do the windscreen wipers work smoothly, and do the blades need replacing?
  • Check all the fluid levels of the car:
    • brake fluid
    • engine oil
    • radiator coolant
    • power steering fluid
    • clutch fluid if it is a manual car
    • gearbox/transmission fluid
    • differential fluid
    • is/are the window washer reservoir(s) full of water?
  • Check that there are no cracks or leaks in the radiator hoses.
  • Is the engine air filter clean and functioning as it should to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions?
  • Is the battery in good condition with no signs of acid corrosion around the terminals?
  • Are the fan belts tight enough and don’t squeak when the car is started?
  • Check for unusual engine noises – they might indicate a problem developing.
  • Does the car start easily?
  • If the car has car seats, are they fitted correctly with proper anchors?
  • Is the paintwork and trim in good condition and protected with good car wax?

What to Look for with a Regular Car maintenance Checklist

Our regular car maintenance checklist will ensure a more complete and thorough service of a car. Depending on how heavily the car is used, this should be done after every 10,000 – 20,000 miles. It involves all the checks featured in the basic car maintenance checklist, as well as some additional procedures:

  • Assess the whole car for any damages to the body, engine, lights, trim, upholstery, etc.
  • Lubricate all locks, hinges, and bonnet catches.
  • Does the timing belt need replacement?
  • Check the condition, tension, locking mechanisms, and buckles of the seatbelt.
  • Check all interior and exterior lights.
  • Assess the functioning of the anti-lock braking system, or ABS, and airbag warning lights.
  • Check the windscreen washers, wipers, and blades.
  • Test and adjust the hooter/horn if necessary.
  • Monitor the operation of the shock absorbers/suspension dampers.
  • Test the function of the power-steering mechanism and its fluid level and condition.
  • Assess the function of the vacuum system and pipes.
  • Check that the fuel cap fits snugly and locks securely.
  • Check if the cooling system and radiator are working properly.
  • Check if the brake fluid boiling point is still high enough.
  • Examine and test the auxiliary drive belts.
  • Assess the engine breather system and adjust if needed.
  • Check the full-throttle settings.
  • Check the lubrication of the gear linkage.
  • Check that the battery is working well and the terminals are lubricated to prevent corrosion.
  • Check out all fluid levels in the car, and top off if necessary.
  • Change oil and oil filter and fit a new sump plug washer.
  • Check all brake pipes and fuel lines.
  • Check the serpentine belt for cracks or wear-and-tear.
  • Check the condition of the exhaust system, silencer/muffler, and tailpipe.
  • Monitor the rear axle differential and fluid level.
  • Check the gearbox and whether its oil needs changing or topping up.
  • Check the steering mounting, rack gaiters, and suspension joints.
  • Assess the tires for pressure, tread wear, balancing and rotation if necessary.
  • Check and assess all wheel bearings.
  • Check all constant-velocity (CV) gaiters and joints for wear, cracks, or splits.
  • Check and adjust the clutch if necessary.
  • Check all spark plugs and replace them if necessary.
  • Check all greasing points and grease where required.
  • Check all the brakes – front, rear, and the handbrake.
  • Torque-tighten all wheel nuts.
  • Road-test the vehicle.
  • Do an emission report.
  • If needed, suggest a new paint job or touch-up to cover scratches, nicks, and/or rust spots.
  • Ensure that the car’s interior, windows, upholstery, gear lever, and steering wheel are clean.
  • Finally, make sure the exterior of the car and the tires are cleaned and waxed.

How to Collect Car Maintenance Data More Easily

The use of digital checklists makes car maintenance easier for automotive service technicians or fleet managers. Instead of fiddling with pen and paper, they can simply work through checklist items via the app on their smartphone or tablet. Recording data and tracking maintenance intervals is done more efficiently this way.

Lumiform is a digital tool for audits and inspections that makes it easy to monitor and manage the condition of individual vehicles or entire fleets. Take advantage of the following benefits of the digital solution for your car maintenance:

  • Promote driver, customer, and product safety by using the checklist to identify vehicle problems and immediately initiate corrective actions via the app.
  • Conduct vehicle maintenance conveniently via smartphone or tablet – even when you’re not connected to the Internet.
  • Schedule vehicle maintenance and be notified when the next service is due, or maintenance appointments have not been met.
  • Get real-time vehicle maintenance updates to know when an inspection is complete.
  • Analyze your car maintenance data to see which areas on vehicles need repair most frequently or when. Plan your resources better as a result.
  • Store and document all inspections securely in the cloud to access them at any time and always have proof of car maintenance at your fingertips.
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