Owning a Car 101: Routine Car Maintenance

Owning a Car 101 Routine Car Maintenance | Swerve Driving School

Owning a car is a big responsibility at any age. One of the best things you can do to extend the life of your vehicle is to make sure maintenance is done regularly. If your driver’s education course covers car maintenance, it is important to look at your own car and figure out how everything applies to your specific vehicle to learn best.

Here are some of the basic routine car maintenance items you should know how to do in your car.

1. Change the oil

This is considered one of the most basic car maintenance items because it needs to be done often. Oil helps lubricate the engine parts to keep them from grinding and destroying the engine.

Over time, the oil gets dirty and leads to build up, which also causes damage from parts rubbing together. Consult your owner’s manual for frequency on oil changes and the best type of oil to use.

2. Checking tire pressure

The main part keeping your vehicle moving on and off the road is the wheels. Without even one, you’re stuck.

The best way to prevent damage is to check the pressure about once a month. Keep a pressure gauge in your glove box so it is also handy when you need it. The recommended PSI for tire pressure is located on the driver’s door jamb, in the owner’s manual, and usually on the tires themselves.

While you are checking them, look for any nails, sticks, or other debris stuck in them. Also, add the spare tire to your list of tires to check so that it is ready if you ever need it.

3. Monitor fluids

Motor oil isn’t the only fluid in the car that needs regular checking. Every now and then, you should pop the hood and check the transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, and washer fluid. Each has its own compartment with a dip stick or cap to check the levels.

Make sure there are no leaks or cracks in the containers and that the levels are adequate.

4. Examine the hoses and belts

The hoses are responsible for making sure fluids are carried to their appropriate locations, preventing over-heating and keeping things running smoothly. Check each for any cracks, leaks, or bulges. If you find any hoses with these traits, they need to be replaced.

Next, locate the belts. Most cars and SUVs require a belt to keep them running, which means it is very important. If you notice any tears, rips, cracks, glazing, or chunks missing, it needs to be replaced.

5. Keep the battery clean

While you are under the hood checking fluids, hoses, and belts, just look at the battery to make sure the connectors are clean.

If you notice corrosion, mix baking soda with a little water and apply it to a wire brush. Scrub around the connectors lightly and wipe clean.

6. Change the windshield wipers

Windshield wiper blades help keep your vision clear during storms. It is best to check them a few times a year to make sure they are functioning before you’re in a storm. It is time to replace them if they leave streaks on the glass or make a screeching sound while operating.


This is a very basic list, but there are other things you should know like how to jump a car battery and how to change a headlight or taillight. The more maintenance you know how to do on your own, the less money you will have to pay a professional to do it for you.

No matter who does it, just make sure that car maintenance is done on time to prevent problems from happening.


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