Maintenance Checklist

Keeping your vehicle in excellent condition with regular maintenance is essential for a smooth and stress-free driving experience. Just like regular health check-ups are crucial for our well-being, a well-maintained car helps ensure optimal performance, longevity, and most importantly, safety on the road.

Your vehicle’s owner’s manual is the first place to look when it comes to understanding exactly which types of maintenance your vehicle needs, and how often each service needs to be completed. You’ll typically find a maintenance schedule which provides recommended maintenance intervals for your specific car, truck, van, or SUV. If you don’t have a copy of your owner’s manual, you can also check the manufacturer’s website or contact your local dealership for information.

Motor Oil & Filter

Motor oil is one of the most important fluids to change regularly when it comes to the health of your vehicle’s engine. Motor oil lubricates all the complex moving parts of an engine, ensuring they do not grind or overheat due to excess friction. Over time, motor oil and the oil filter become less effective as they collect contaminants and small metal shavings.

How often your engine requires an oil change will depend on the specific recommendations from your vehicle manufacturer, as well as how many miles and how often you drive your car. You may see a recommendation to change the oil every 5,000 miles or once a year (whichever comes first), for example. The type of oil needed depends on the type of engine your vehicle has as well, with many modern engines requiring full synthetic oil. Check your vehicle’s owners’ manual, the manufacturers’ website or your local dealership for exact recommendations.

Tire Pressure & Wear

Tires are an important safety feature on your vehicle, as they provide traction in a variety of road and weather conditions. An improperly inflated tire, or one that is heavily worn, can be dangerous and can lead to a blowout or loss of vehicle control. Luckily, checking tire pressure is quick and easy.

If your vehicle has an advanced tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you might be able to check the tire pressure from one of the screens in your vehicle. If not, you’ll need a basic tire pressure gauge, as well as the recommended tire pressure, which can be found on the driver’s side door jamb on most vehicles. Checking and changing the tire pressure when the tires are cold (i.e., parked for three hours or more or driven less than a mile at moderate speed) will give you the most accurate results.

Checking for tire wear is simple, and should be done when you are checking tire pressure once a month. The easiest method of checking tire wear is called the “penny method,” where you put a penny with Lincoln’s head pointing down between the treads of the tire. If the tread doesn’t go up high enough to cover his head, you need to buy new tires.


Another important safety feature on your vehicle is the brakes, which need to be replaced occasionally. If you’ve noticed that you are having to press down on the brake pedal, or you are hearing or feeling any type of grinding when braking, it may be time for new brake pads or rotors. Some other braking system items that may need maintenance include calipers, ABS modules, parking brake cables, and brake fluid.

Battery & Charging System

Is your car having trouble starting, or have you needed a jump start recently? It may be time to check your battery. Weather conditions can sometimes cause battery terminals to become rusty or corroded, causing issues with vehicle starting and battery charging.

Even if it’s been a few years since your battery has been replaced, it is a good idea to have it checked out. A mechanic can test your battery to see if it is still good, along with your vehicle’s charging system, to ensure that your vehicle starts reliably every time.

Wiper Blades

If you’ve noticed that your wiper blades are leaving streaks, making lots of noise, or are not clearing your windshield properly, it’s probably time to replace them. Any auto parts store or dealership can help you find the right size wiper blades for your vehicle and may even be able to help you install them.

Other Fluids

We’ve mentioned motor oil and brake fluid, but there are a few other fluids that are important in keeping your vehicle operating smoothly that you should check regularly. Transmission fluid and coolant doesn’t need to be changed as often as oil, so it is best to check your maintenance schedule to see recommendations. It is usually best to leave flushing and changing fluids like that to professionals who can dispose of it properly.

Some vehicles require power steering fluid as well, which is important in ensuring your vehicle’s steering remains smooth and the wheel doesn’t require too much effort to turn. The window washer fluid is another item to check and refill to ensure you can see clearly when your windshield gets dirty.

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JD Power