Most drivers are aware that a car should be brought in for regularly scheduled maintenance according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, but did you also know there are several things you should be doing on a monthly basis? By taking just 15 minutes every month to perform a few checks, you can help prevent problems that could lead to breakdowns and expensive repairs. So save yourself trouble on the road and time in the repair shop by performing the following monthly car maintenance checks.
1. Check Tire Pressure and Tread
Although most modern vehicles are equipped with some form of electronic monitoring, it is still recommended you manually check the tire pressure on a regular basis. Each month, check the tires during the morning hours and adjust the tire pressure if required. Always check your owner’s manual for the correct air pressure, not what is marked on the tire itself.
When it comes to car maintenance, tire changes are one of the most essential services. Tires wear down over time and eventually need to be replaced in order to maintain optimal performance and safety. There are a few signs that indicate it is time for a tire change, including decreased tread depth, uneven tire wear, and bulges or cracks in the tire. Many tire brand reviews help people to choose the best tire for their vehicle. It is also important to consult with a qualified car mechanic to ensure that the tire change is performed properly.
You should also keep in mind that temperature changes of just 10°F can affect tire pressure as well. Therefore, make extra sure you check pressure after winter and summer weather changes. Don’t forget to check the spare tire too.
After checking the pressure in all four tires and the spare, take a few more minutes to inspect each tire’s tread for leaks, uneven wear or damage. You will also want to check the tread depth. one easy way to do this is to use the penny trick. Simply insert a penny into the tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the tire’s tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.
2. Check All Lights, Turn Signals
Another monthly car maintenance check you should perform is checking all of the lights and turn signals on your vehicle. Ensure that both your headlights and tail lights are working properly. Make sure to check both high and low beams. Have someone step on the brake and put the car into reverse so you can make sure those lights are also working properly. Then have that same person test the turn signals and hazards.
3. Inspect The Windshield Wipers
Another easy monthly car maintenance check is to inspect the windshield wipers and blades. Look for signs of wear and tear on both the metal arm and the wiper blade. If the rubber edge looks worn or torn, or if it is pulling away from the metal, it’s time to replace the blades.
You should also make sure that the metal arm is not bent or cracked. If it is, then you will need to replace your wipers.
4. Monthly Car Maintenance Under the Hood
Now it’s time to turn your attention to under the hood. Checking the following items will not take long, and you don’t have to be a mechanic to do it. A quick read through the owner’s manual will show you where each item is located if you are not familiar with your car’s engine compartment. Some manuals will even give detailed instructions on checking your fluids and belts.
During this monthly car maintenance check, make sure you inspect:
- the engine’s oil level. Remember to wipe the dipstick first and add oil if the level is low.
- the automatic transmission fluid level on the dipstick.
- the brake fluid.
- the power-steering fluid.
- the coolant.
- the battery and the connections.
- the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
- the belts and hoses for any obvious signs of looseness, tearing, fraying or dry rotting.
- check inside the engine compartment and under the car for any signs of fluid leaks.
If you are not comfortable doing this particular monthly car maintenance check, you could always take it to a trusted mechanic or the dealership where you bought the car and let them do it for you.
5. Cleaning Your Car
As a final part of your vehicle’s monthly maintenance check, give your car a wash – both inside and out. Washing your car is one of the best and most fulfilling ways to take care of your car, it can also help maintain the car’s appearance. Most importantly, thoroughly washing the interior and exterior of your car can help prevent damage, such as road salt corroding the car’s undercarriage or dirt and debris that works its way into the vehicle’s carpet or mats.
Final Thoughts on Monthly Car Maintenance
Any mechanic will agree – by taking the time and taking care of these monthly car maintenance tasks, you can keep your car running longer and looking it’s best for years to come.
Do you perform monthly maintenance on your car?