General Car Maintenance

April 12, 2013 By Mike Lee
Last updated on July 27, 2015

General car maintenance for all. Keeping your car in tip top condition (or as close as you can get to it), can help prevent a lot of potential hassle. Generally a well serviced car will give you a much happier owner relationship with your car.

Get yourself a maintenance manual, you never know when you might need it, also the internet has lots of forums and people who may have had a problem or question like yours and your answer may just be a click away. The lists below are made up of jobs that most anyone with a bit of practise can carry out.

Oil Change
Engine Oil Filter

I’m not putting a time period for how often these are to be carried out, all cars will have different schedules, especially if they have modifications. But generally the list below would need to be done from a weekly to annual basis, depending on your cars use and age.


  • Check fluids regularly preferably once a month – use recommended or better fluids
  • Check the oil level (on a level surface). While your at it, check for any water contamination under the oil filler cap – if there’s any gunge (normally a dirty cream colour), then this is usually a sign that water has got into the engine. Have the engine oil changed as per the manufacturers recommendations or to the specifications needed for any modifications you have
  • Change the oil filter at the same time as an oil change
  • Coolant – use the recommended mix of water and coolant (antifreeze) for the time of year/weather conditions
  • Brake fluid – use the correct dot rating and keep it topped up
  • PAS fluid – same as brake fluid
  • Washer fluid – top up as necessary
  • Automatic gearbox oil – please refer to your owners manual on procedure
  • Tyres – check the pressure when cold (see owners manual for pressure), check the tread depth (1.6mm over three quarters is the legal minimum)
  • Check your exhaust for any blowing or perished rubber hangers
  • Check all under bonnet hoses for cracks and check they are secure
  • Check all lighting
  • Check all under bonnet wiring for splits, cuts, burning/melting (check they’re not near a hot manifold)
  • Batteries are generally maintenance free nowadays, however you can still make sure the cables on the terminals are secure and corrosion free

Low Tyre Pressure Tyre Pressure Gauge

Checks/Changes To Do Anually Or Longer (Again Dependant On The Mods/Use Of Your Car):

  • Check, clean or replace the spark plugs
  • Check or replace the brake pads/shoes
  • Brake hoses/pipes – pump the brake pedal a few times, it should become firm, if not you may have a leak in the system, air in the system or if it is just spongy and doesn’t get worse, may just need to be adjusted
  • Auxillary belts – check/replace the alternator (power steering, a/c) belts
  • Replace the fuel filter
  • Check the exhaust condition
  • Change the brake fluid
  • Replace the air filter – if required
  • Check the suspension for bounce
  • Road nuts – tightened
  • Replace coolant
  • Check spare tyre
  • Grease the battery terminals to avoid corrosion
  • Some old cars have grease nipples for lubricating suspension/chassis joints, so ensure that is done if necessary

Brake Reservoir Car Battery Brake Pad Check