Your Year Round Car Care Checklist

Owning a car isn’t just about the convenience it brings to your life. Specialists keep repeating the need for not just occasional servicing by experts, but also a routine check-up that can be performed by the owner himself. Statistics state that 25% cars run with dirty engine oil, while nearly 13% has low or contaminated brake fluid. Though your car might still run, such factors might terribly damage your engine and reduce mileage eventually. Specialists all over the world have given car owners a list of things they need to keep in check at regular intervals so as to keep their machines new and running. Let us take a look at these checklists!

Things To Check Frequently (Once a month)

  1. Dashboard lights: Quite vital for your car because it has most of the warning lights. Like, If you are about to go for a long trip and your battery charge warning light is on but you are not considering that then you will ruin your trip in midway. Make sure that you check the lights regularly, otherwise, you may end up with serious issues.
  2. External lights: Fog lamps and headlights are really important for safety especially while driving on Indian roads. Check them once a month so they don’t give unexpected trouble.
  3. Tire condition: Considering the rough and diverse terrain your tyres are subjected to run, ensuring that your tires are inflated and carry adequate pressure. A tyre pressure monitoring system can help you to get notified of your tyre pressure level at all the time.  A sudden tyre blows out could leave you stranded.
  4. Engine oil level: For those who drive long distances and use their car regularly, the importance of keeping engine oil level intact is not well known. Oil protects your engine from heat and friction, and without it, your engine is sure to burn up in seconds.
  5. Wiper fluid:  Something that misses all our minds but we regret it when the windshield gets dry and we stop to pour a bottle of water on it.

Check These Every 3 Months (or 4800+ Kms)

  1. Automatic Transmission Fluid & Power Steering Fluid: ATF  helps in valve operation, brake band friction, and the torque converter as well as gear lubrication in automatic or manual cars while power steering fluids make your driving easy and smooth. Over time, these could deplete based on use and this might develop friction, reducing ease of driving. Though they ideally don’t require frequent change, its always good to ensure the levels are satisfactory.
  2. Belts & Hoses: A belt or hose failure can cause an overheated engine, loss of power steering, and loss of the electrical charging system. These under the hood checks might seem like a specialist job, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If your car is being used roughly or gets driven a lot, the chances of belt or hose malfunction are very high.
  3. Batteries: Battery failure can leave you stranded and cannot be fixed unless you have a mechanic’s help. Avoid activities that drain your battery like: keeping your lights on even after the engine is off. You can run manual battery check-ups often so as to avoid this.
  4. Engine filters: Engine filters extract dust and dirt from the air during combustion and ideally needs to be changed only once a year. But given the terrain and climate in Indian states, the air filter pulls a lot of loads. A malfunctioning filter could get your engine in a lot of trouble.
  5. Exhaust: Probably the most ignored part of a car, until it starts making loud gasping noises. While checking, brush off the rust from the exhaust system and search it for small holes. These pores could draw in air from outside, igniting any unburnt fuel. This could cause backfire in the exhaust and damage your car.

Every 9 to 12 Months

  1. Chassis lubrication: Chassis includes the undercarriage parts of the vehicle that carries the weight of the vehicle, allow it to flex and the components necessary for turning. This includes mountings for suspension springs, shocks or struts, and steering arms. Lubricating these parts ease out the suspension, eliminating squeaks and rattles.
  2. Cabin air filter: These need to be checked before winters especially in India, after a dusty summer. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air and remove allergens hence a dirty filter could make your whole family sick.
  3. Brake & Alignment: Brake failure is a nightmare. Though brake fluid checks are done rarely, doing it every 9 to 12 months is highly recommended for safety. Wheel alignment checks are important to ensure your car runs safely and can manage the bends and hairpins well. Be sure to cross check this before a hill-station drive especially.
  4. Coolant levels: Well, this one is pretty obvious. Unless you want a smoked out engine in the middle of the road. Coolant will help the engine from overheat and breakdown, it will be wise to check coolant levels at least every 10 months. 

These regular checks are a must to have a safe and easy driving span with your car. Most of the regular checks listed above can be performed without the help of an expert. Always remember that machines are only as good as the people who use them, and the environment is a factor beyond your control. So it will be always wise to do your best for your car. Most of the regular checks listed above can be performed without the help of an expert.

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