Car maintenance is never a glamorous subject, but avoiding the matter entirely only creates further problems down the line. The frequency at which you should look at certain areas of your vehicle will vary and many of these checks will form part of your annual service, but if you don’t otherwise have plans to tend to your car or van this year then you should be utilising the fresh start brought by the New Year to get your maintenance requirements and plans in check.
To make this process as easy as possible, we’ve compiled the below car maintenance checklist which offers you a starting point for getting your vehicle in ship shape in 2024.
Oil is essential to the smooth operation of your vehicle and keeps your engine running as it should be. For this reason, checking your oil levels is an essential part of any car maintenance checklist and something that should actually be completed more frequently than on an annual basis where possible. You can usually check your oil level yourself when the engine is cool and it should be nice and quick to do. Simply check that levels are somewhere between minimum and maximum via your vehicle’s dipstick. If not, top up with oil as per manufacturer guidance.
While you’re checking your oil levels, tick off another key part of essential car maintenance and check your engine coolant as well. Engine coolant is vital in terms of keeping the engine at an appropriate temperature and preventing overheating, so it’s not something that should be glossed over or allowed to run low. You will find your engine coolant in a sealed unit in your bonnet with minimum and maximum levels on the side for checking. Aim to look at this twice a year if you can and top up according to manufacturer instructions if levels are too low.
Your tyres are the only point of contact with the road and therefore a critical component for driver safety. On a monthly basis, you should be checking that the pressure is set to the correct levels as per your vehicle manual, but you should also perform more in-depth checks of your tyres on at least an annual basis. Look for any cuts, bulges, or warping and pay attention to the tread depth. You can check this by using a 20p; place it in between the tread and if the rim with ‘Twenty Pence’ is no longer visible then your tyres are in a safe condition. If not, or if you see any damage, your tyres should be replaced.
Wipers & Screenwash
Never underestimate how important visibility is when driving, especially in adverse weather conditions. The overall condition of your windscreen plays a hugely significant role in this and just as you wouldn’t leave any chips or cracks unattended, you should never ignore damage to your windscreen wipers. Inspect the blades for any signs of wear and damage and pay attention to how well they clear dirt and debris when in use. Replace them if needed and top up your windscreen washer fluid at the same time to cross off another box on your car maintenance checklist.
Lights are another key aspect of driver visibility and should be checked regularly. While many vehicles are advanced enough to notify you of any errors automatically, it’s still wise to take a look at them yourself to ensure that everything is working as it should be. Check your headlights, tail lights, brake lights and indicators by turning them on and inspecting them from outside the vehicle. You can always use reflections or get a friend or family member to help with things like the brake lights where you will need to operate them from the driver's seat to check.
Brakes & Brake Fluid
Given that your brakes are paramount in slowing your wheels down, brake maintenance is a critical aspect of driver safety and something that should be regularly prioritised as part of a car maintenance checklist. There are 3 areas to focus on in particular: the pads, discs and fluid. Make sure that your brake pads and discs have been inspected for wear and tear at least once a year and replace them as often as is necessary. Throughout the year, you should also regularly check your brake fluid levels and top up if necessary.
If you have a petrol vehicle, spark plugs are also an important component of vehicle performance. Spark plugs typically need to be replaced every 30,000 miles so it’s unlikely that the actual replacement will be part of your annual car maintenance check. However, you should still be aware of the possibility of this work needing to be done to ensure that your vehicle maintains fuel efficiency and engine health.
With lots of different aspects of car maintenance to consider now and over the course of the upcoming year, staying on top of your car maintenance checklist might seem a burden. If you want this pressure taken away and greater peace of mind when it comes to your vehicle, consider including a maintenance package in your car lease deal.
Here at Intelligent Vehicle Finance, our tyres, servicing and maintenance packages are a cost-effective and efficient way to keep on top of your car maintenance checklist. We utilise our industry network and contacts to give you a single point of contact, whether you need servicing, mechanical repair, or breakdown assistance. Get in touch with us today to discover more about how maintenance can be factored into your perfect lease deal with Intelligent Vehicle Finance.