Cars need servicing every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes sooner. Most people take their car to a vehicle repair shop when it is due a service, but if your vehicle isn’t locked into a dealer service agreement, you have the right tools, a garage, and the skills, it is perfectly okay to carry out a service at home. Here are the main areas to inspect when servicing a car.
A car service is a scheduled maintenance check designed to replace various fluids and make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. Some services are fairly basic whereas others involve a lot more checks and the replacement of key parts.
It is important to have a car serviced regularly. Not only will it make it easier to sell when the time comes but it is also less likely to have any major faults. In addition, a regularly serviced car is more fuel-efficient, handles better, and is less likely to break down on the side of a road.
If you plan to service your car at home, here are the main things to check:
The engine oil is normally changed during an annual service. The old oil is drained, the oil filter replaced, and new oil added. This is an important job, as using old, dirty oil will affect the engine’s performance. If the engine’s oil level gets too low, it could cause the engine to seize up, which is expensive and probably terminal.
Top Up Fluid Levels
Check fluid levels. If necessary, top these up. The main ones, apart from engine oil, are:
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Engine coolant
Replacement fluids can be purchased from online and offline car spares retailers, gas stations, and stores like Home Depot.
Check the Brakes
Your car’s braking system is a critical safety feature. If the brakes are not working correctly, either because the pads are worn, there is a leak somewhere, or something else, you might not be able to stop quickly enough – or at all. For obvious reasons, this is highly dangerous.
Always check your car’s brakes when carrying out a routine service. Look at your car’s brake pads. How thick are they? If they are less than one-quarter of an inch, they need replacing. Other signs that mean your brake pads need checking is when they squeal or seem soft. Use a local repair shop such as an Eau Claire brake repair specialist if you’re not comfortable with replacing brake pads or there is another issue. This is not an area you can afford to mess around with.
Tires and Lights
Look at your car’s tires. Are they showing signs of general wear or are they wearing unevenly? Tires need at least 1.6mm of tread all over but ideally should have more. Any less is dangerous, especially in wet driving conditions.
Check all your car’s lights to ensure no bulbs need replacing. You will need someone else to help you do this.
Other things to check during a service include the steering, suspension, and battery.