You don’t have to be a car expert to perform the regular maintenance your car needs. With this handy monthly checklist, you can give your car a simple review and have peace of mind that all is well. You’ll also be able to catch potential problems early, which will save you from a costly repair job in the future.
The Oil Level
It’s recommended that you check your car’s oil every month to make sure that everything is as it should be. Each time you look, there should be enough oil and it should be relatively clean. Just because the oil has turned black doesn’t mean it isn’t clean. It’s only dirty enough to need changing if it leaves a smudge on your fingers.
Even though you might not be due for your next oil change, it’s still a good idea to check the oil regularly to make sure that there isn’t a leak and it still looks usable. Recommendations for when it’s time to change your oil are based on averages, so it’s best to take matters into your own hands and change it when needed.
The Air Filter
Your air filter does exactly what it says: It filters your air. This newly filtered air then goes into your engine. A clogged filter won’t be able to do its job well, and it will end up sending dirt and debris into your engine, which can cause bigger problems later on.
You don’t need to check the cabin air filter—the filter that cleans the air that comes in from the AC vents—each month. That one only needs to be changed about once a year (depending on how much you drive).
Important Fluid Levels
We can all agree that braking and steering are two rather important parts of driving. But an alarmingly low number of drivers ever check these levels themselves. Don’t leave these checkups to the person that changes your oil; they should be examined more often than that.
You’ll also want to take a look at the automatic transmission fluid to make sure that you don’t have a leak.
Windshield washer fluid should also be reviewed. In winter months, we end up using more of it to clear away the ice and snow, so it’s a good idea to check it twice a month during these times.
In review, fluids you should be checking every month:
- Brake Fluid
- Power Steering Fluid
- Automatic Transmission Fluid
- Windshield Washer Fluid
This one is pretty easy because you can see the coolant level through the plastic and simply add more if needed. Antifreeze has the dual job of keeping your car from overheating in the summer and from freezing up in the winter, so it’s important all year long.
Your windshield is also necessary to your driving experience, and keeping it clean is essential for safe handling of the vehicle. Inspect your wipers to see that they aren’t showing signs of wear, and replace them as needed.
At this time, you can also scan the windshield itself for any small chips or cracks that you might not have noticed while driving. Even a small chip can turn into a bigger crack that ends up spanning half the windshield and compromising its effectiveness.
You’ll want to check your tires once a month or as needed. Don’t forget to put your winter tires on when the weather starts to dip below seven degrees for your morning commute. In Winnipeg, you’ll want to start checking the weather in September and October.
It’s a good idea to invest in a multimeter so you can check your battery regularly. An accurate digital multimeter can be found for less than $25. Many problems with car batteries can be prevented with a simple regular check. It’s worth it so you can prevent the unpleasant feeling of trying to start your car and nothing happens.
Safety and Reliability
With these monthly reviews, you’ll be sure to keep your car in proper shape and avoid any unnecessary repairs due to neglect. You’ll also be making sure your car is as safe as can be, so you can feel good while driving it.