Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance Checklist.
Most vehicle manuals include a long list of maintenance steps to take every three months. Take the time to perform these steps now, and hopefully you’ll remember to repeat the steps again when each new season starts. It’s kind of like checking your smoke alarm when you change the clocks.
As a suggestion use the following checklist as a guideline. Refer to your owners manual for detailed information for your equipment.
Change Engine Oil and Filter
No matter which type of oil you choose—synthetic motor oil or conventional motor oil—we always recommend you follow your owner’s manual for oil grade, weight, and change intervals. Once you’ve changed your oil and oil filter, check your engine level at every fill up to extend engine life.
Check Engine Air Filter
You should check your air filter at every single oil change. You likely won’t need to change it every time, but you should always remove it and inspect it for tears, leaking, excessive water or oil, or other signs of damage. If you find excessive wear, tear, or dirt build-up, swap in a new air filter.
Inspect Hoses and Belts
Inspect your belts and hoses every three months or so. Pay particular attention for cracking or fraying on your V-belt or serpentine belt and also check for looseness or overall wear. You may also want to take this opportunity to look at your timing belt.
Once you are finished checking your belts, turn your attention to your vehicle’s hoses. Check for cracks, swelling, restrictions, or leaks and replace as necessary.
Check and Maintain Tire Pressure
It’s always a good idea to check your tire pressure, but you should also look at the overall condition of your tires and then inspect for uneven tread or irregular wear patterns. Unusual wear could be a sign that it’s time to get new tires—or it could be a clue that your vehicle needs an alignment.
Check Essential Fluid Levels
In this case, your essential fluids include transmission fluid, radiator fluid/coolant, power steering fluid, and wiper fluid—all essential to the performance or safety of your vehicle.
Check your radiator fluid levels first with the engine cool. Remember, never open a hot radiator cap! If your coolant is low, add a 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water. If it’s been longer than a year, since you’ve changed your coolant, you may want to consider taking that step now.
Inspect your power steering fluid with your vehicle warmed up. If the level is low, add the correct type of fluid specified in your owner’s manual. You may also want to inspect your power steering reservoir and plumbing for leaks if you need to top off frequently.
Spring season is rainy season in many places, so make sure your wiper fluid is topped off. Also, inspect your wiper blades and replace as necessary.
Inspect Your Battery and Cables
Now’s the time to test your battery to make sure it’s in good working order—especially after the cold winter months. If it’s three years old or more, it may be time to consider a new battery. If you’re sticking with your existing battery, make sure it is securely mounted by checking the tightness of the brackets. Also, make sure all connections are tight and corrosion-free.
Test Your Lights
Grab a friend or family member and do a quick test of all your lights—brakes, headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Have your helper move from the front of your vehicle to the back as you test each individual light. If any need to be replaced, check your fuses, and then replace fuses or bulbs as necessary.