Your Preventative Car Maintenance Checklist

A car has many parts, all of which require special attention and care, to ensure that the machine functions properly.

We will discuss all of the various parts of your vehicle that need maintenance.

In addition, we review the warning signs and timeline associated with maintaining these components.

Why is Preventative Car Maintenance Important?

Having a car requires that you take care of it through routine car maintenance.

All parts of the vehicle, including the engine, brakes, lights, tyres, and much more, must be repaired over time.

Why is upkeep so important?

Preventative car maintenance is necessary for a number of reasons.

Increase the Longevity of Your Vehicle

Routine car maintenance extends the life of your vehicle, ensuring that the car lasts you a long time.

Periodically checking fluids, getting regular oil changes, and caring for minor repairs are just a few ways to keep your car running smoothly for as long as possible.

Safety and Reliability

Driving can be dangerous. Therefore, periodic repairs help avoid an engine misfiring due to a worn spark plug or decreased visibility from a burnt-out headlight.

It also ensures you that you can rely on your car whenever you need it.

Increased fuel efficiency

There are many factors that influence fuel economy.

Some major causes of decreased fuel consumption result from not getting regular oil changes or tire rotations, as well as not checking tyre pressure frequently.

It Saves you Money

Servicing your vehicle, as you should, will save you money in the long run.

Routine vehicle maintenance will reduce your chances of serious car trouble in the future that result when problems go unresolved.

General Car Maintenance

It is apparent that routine car maintenance is important in keeping your car running like new, longer. According to a survey completed by the Car Care Council, eighty-nine percent of the drivers reviewed had vehicles that were in need of at least one maintenance repair. This suggests that many individuals do not care for their automobile like they are supposed to.

Are you giving your vehicle the TLC it deserves?

Our hope, through this post, is to make more people aware of the importance of regular car maintenance. We have assembled a list of car features that need to be addressed when caring for your vehicle.

Tips To Keep Your Car Running Smoother, Longer

This list is to be treated as a guideline for general car maintenance. It does not include all of the components of a vehicle, as a car is composed of thousands of parts. You can easily complete some of these maintenance tasks yourself, while others require the work of a trained professional.

Car Interior/Exterior

  • Dashboard Indicator Lights
    There are over 150 different indicator lights on a modern car’s dashboard. Lights indicating to check the engine, oil pressure, and tyre pressure are just a few of the numerous possibilities you may see illuminated.

    These lights can notify you of a problem before you are aware that one even exists.

    Check your dash frequently to ensure that your vehicle does not sense any complications. Although a “Check Engine” light may simply be caused from a loose gas cap, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Headlights
    A car’s headlights can last up to two years. However, these parts will eventually burnout and need replacing.

    Proper headlight maintenance is important, so that drivers can see in hazardous conditions, such as at night and in stormy weather.

    Visibility is crucial, because if you cannot see, then you cannot react to possible dangers on the road.
  • Tyres 
    Every three months, you should inspect the wear, tread, and pressure of your tyres.

    Check for bald spots when assessing the tread. Uneven wear on the tires indicates the need for a wheel alignment.

    Ensure that the tires contain the appropriate amount of air. Under-inflated tires can lead to lower fuel efficiency, paying up to five cents more per litre.
  • Wiper Blades and Windscreen
    Wiper blades are flexible, made of rubber, and endure extreme temperatures and conditions. Therefore, windscreen wipers are prone to cracking after extended use.

    Neglecting to change wiper blades can result in damages to the windscreen and obstructions to vision.

    When checking your windscreen wipers, you should also inspect the windshield for chips that could grow into large cracks.

  • Proper Cleaning
    Washing the exterior of your car is essential in preserving the paint job. Dirt, dust, and grime can build up on an automobile’s surface.

    Without regular cleaning, these materials will chip away at the car’s paint. It is also important to take care of your car’s interior.

    Steering wheels, dashboards, and leather seats are capable of cracking and fading from the sun’s harsh rays.
  • Brakes
    Brake pads are vital for safety and vehicle performance. These parts should be inspected and changed every 100,000 kms or so.

    Hearing screeching, grinding, squealing, or rubbing noises are all indicators of a possible brake problem.

Under the Bonnet

  • Fluids
    Check the fluid levels in your vehicle. This would include coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, oil, windscreen washer fluid, and power steering fluid.

    These fluids are all important for different reasons.

    Coolants are necessary to keep the engine from getting too hot, while windscreen washer fluid is critical in maintaining a clear line of vision.

    Many of these fluids do not need to replaced for one to two years. However, it is best to check levels monthly.

    How often a vehicle’s oil needs to be changed is dependent upon driving habits and the type of oil used. Typically, a car will need an oil change every 10,000 to 20,000 kms, but it is best to check the manual.
  • Engine/Cabin Air Filter
    An engine air filter prevents harmful contaminants from entering the engine.

    A cabin air filter performs similar duties but for the interior of the automobile. It is in charge of filtering the air that comes through the car’s heating and air conditioning unit to prevent dust, pollen, and smog from seeping in.

    These air filters should be replaced every 25,000 to 50,000 kms.

    Over time, they will become extremely dirty and brittle. Signs of a possible dirty engine air filter include unusual engine sounds, smoke from exhaust, and misfiring engine.
  • Air Conditioning Unit
    As Summer approaches, you will become strongly reliant on your vehicle’s air conditioning unit. A car’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is critical for maintaining comfortable driving conditions and visibility through the defrost function.

    Without this system, your drive to work could be unbearable.

    Ensure that the vents are blowing out air as they should and at the appropriate temperature.
  • Hoses and Belts
    Hoses and belts are critical parts of the vehicle. Without them, engine failure is a possibility.

    Check these pieces of equipment to ensure that they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, or showing any signs of extensive wear.

    As a rule of thumb, you should replace these parts every three to five years or every 80,000 kms.
  • Battery
    An automotive battery provides the energy needed to start the engine and after continued use, the battery will lose its ability to maintain a charge.

    You do not want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery.

    To keep this from happening, ask your mechanic to check the battery every time you take your car in for service.

    Batteries usually need to be replaced every three to four years.
  • Spark plugs
    Spark plugs ensure engine performance and longevity and ignoring them can lead to engine misfires.

    Replacing spark plugs means smoother starts rather than jerky ones, as well as less harmful emissions.

    Be on the look-out for rattling sounds, trouble starting, or reduced performance. These are all warning signs that a spark plug needs to be replaced.

    Replace spark plugs approximately every four to six years.

Making Make Car Maintenance Easier

With car maintenance, there is a lot to keep up with.

While not everything needs to be done at one time, it still requires a diligent amount of work.

You must remember what needs to be done and at what time.

How do you do this?

There are many different ways to stay organized.

Here are a few ways to take the headache out of maintaining your vehicle:

  • Mark it on your Calendar.  Track your upcoming vehicle maintenance appointments on your calendar. You can use your phone to receive notification reminders as the date approaches.
  • Make a Car Maintenance Checklist. If you are crafty and skilled with Microsoft Office or Google Docs, make a checklist on your own to stay on top of necessary maintenance tasks. Otherwise, use the internet to find a free printable checklist to make your life easier. Pinterest is a good resource to use for free print-outs.
  • Use Mobile Apps. There are numerous car maintenance apps available for your mobile phone. You can find both paid and free apps. They can be utilised to track fuel economy and countdown time to repairs.

Why Car Maintenance for Vehicle Transport

If you are a car collector or individual moving interstate, you may need to use a vehicle transport company to move your vehicle.

Utilising auto transport services saves you time, energy, and stress. A long trip means thousands of kilometres on the vehicle, so auto transport saves you the accumulation of kilometres and the wear that comes with it.

Vehicle maintenance is important before, during, and after the auto transport process.

Here’s why:

  • Your car may be positioned on a two-level carrier. Why is this important? If your automobile goes without service and is positioned on the top level, it could leak oil on to a vehicle below it causing expensive damage. You wouldn’t want this to happen to your car if the situation was reversed. Therefore, make sure that your vehicle is up to date on all the required services before transport.
  • You want your vehicle to be ready when you arrive. Upon delivery of the vehicle, it would be a hassle to have to complete a long list of car maintenance tasks before being able to safely drive your vehicle. It is better to take care of everything before auto transport. This way you can drive your car as soon as it is delivered.

You put in a great deal of time into preserving the life of your automobile and preventative vehicle maintenance is the key to caring for all the components of the car. 

This includes monitoring the lights, brakes, tyres windshield, filters, fluids spark plugs and more.

It may seem like a hassle to complete everything, but these parts are all important in retaining a safe and reliable vehicle.

And, it’s good for you to have peace of mind too.

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Customer Success Story

Why Car Transport Services Exists Today!

When I had to move my car from Melbourne to Perth, the journey of finding the right transportation service felt almost as daunting as the 3,400 km drive itself. Through trial and error, a bit of luck, and a few missteps, I learned a great deal about how to select the best service for such a task. Here’s my experience, and I hope it can guide you smoothly through your own process.

Start with Research

The first thing I learned was the importance of research. Initially, I made the rookie mistake of choosing the first service that popped up in my Google search results. Big mistake. The company had hidden fees I hadn’t anticipated, and the service was far from satisfactory. What I learned was to dig deeper. Read reviews on multiple platforms, ask for recommendations from friends or family who’ve undertaken similar moves, and don’t skip on checking the forums where real customers discuss their experiences.

Check for Licensing and Insurance

One good decision I made was ensuring the company was licensed and insured. Insurance is important. Transporting a vehicle across such a long distance has its risks, and you want to ensure that your car is covered in case of any mishaps. Verify the transporter's accreditation with transport authorities and ensure they have valid insurance that covers your vehicle during the transit. This gave me peace of mind, knowing my car was in safe hands.

Compare Quotes

Getting multiple quotes was another area where I initially faltered. I assumed all prices would be roughly the same and didn’t bother shopping around. However, after a pricey quote from the first company, I decided to get several more. The price differences were significant, and some companies offered more comprehensive services at lower costs. Always compare quotes from at least three to five companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the price range but also allows you to negotiate better terms.

Understand the Service Types

I wasn’t aware initially, but there are different types of car transport services: door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, open carrier, and enclosed carrier. Each has its pros and cons. I chose an open carrier for its cost-effectiveness, but in retrospect, considering the long journey across Australia, an enclosed carrier would have been better to protect my car from the elements. Understanding these options beforehand helps in making a more informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Communication is Key

One of the best decisions I made was selecting a company that had excellent communication practices. They provided updates at every major juncture of the journey, which eased my anxiety. Ensure that the company you choose has a point of contact who is reachable and willing to update you throughout the process. This is vital for peace of mind and to ensure that any issues are quickly addressed.

Timing and Flexibility

I learned the hard way that flexibility is key when transporting a car such a long distance. The initial service I chose promised a delivery within a week, but it ended up taking more than two weeks, which disrupted my plans significantly. Ask about the expected delivery times and check if the company can offer guarantees or compensation if they exceed the estimated delivery times.

Avoid Rush Decisions

A bad decision I made was rushing into booking without fully understanding the terms and conditions. This led to unexpected charges for additional services I wasn’t aware I had agreed to. Take your time to read the fine print or have someone else review it. Make sure you understand every aspect of the service contract.

What I Wish I Knew

If I knew then what I know now, I would have placed more emphasis on checking customer feedback about their post-service experience, especially regarding how companies handle damage claims and disputes. Knowing a company's track record in these areas can save you from potential headaches if something goes wrong.

Open vs Enclosed Car Transport

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Open Car Transport

Open car transport involves shipping vehicles in an open-air trailer, exposing them to weather and road conditions.

This method is cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for transporting vehicles quickly and economically.

The main benefits include lower costs due to multiple vehicles being transported simultaneously and quicker delivery times. However, the downside is the potential risk of damage from environmental elements and road debris.

moving cars in an enclosed car carrier

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car transport uses fully enclosed trailers to provide maximum protection for vehicles against weather, theft, and damage during transit.

This method is preferable for high-value, classic, or luxury vehicles requiring extra security. Enclosed transport is more expensive and less readily available but offers higher insurance coverage and peace of mind.

Specialised services include GPS tracking and expert handling, ensuring vehicles are delivered safely and discretely.

Find out more