Car Maintenance Checklist to Prevent Accidents

car maintenance checklist

Having a car is an endless investment. Aside from the payment for the vehicle, as a vehicle owner, you will have to eventually pay for vehicle maintenance, costly repairs, fuel, and more. However, a lot of these expenses can be reduced if you check your car periodically.

What exactly should you inspect in your vehicle to maximize its performance and keep it away from accidents? Your car maintenance checklist should include the following key elements.

10 Things That Should Be in Your Car Maintenance Checklist

Your car maintenance checklist will include these 10 essentials.


This is the fluid that keeps everything in your car running perfectly. To check the engine oil level in your vehicle, you only have to use the dipstick and see which mark the liquid is at. Keep in mind that if the color of the oil in the dipstick is black, your car needs an urgent change of engine oil. Generally, this fluid must be changed every 3,000 miles. So be sure to keep an eye on your car’s stats and your maintenance schedule.

A clear sign that you should measure the motor oil is when the corresponding light turns on in your dashboard. However, the light can also come on when there is a pump failure, or there is a clog in the oil filter.

Tire Pressure

Checking this and ensuring proper tire pressure will save you from a lot of trouble. When your tires are not inflated correctly, the risk of causing an accident or losing control of the car is higher than in cases of a flat tire or uneven tire pressure.

You can purchase a tire pressure gauge to measure the tire pressure yourself, or you can go to a body shop for routine maintenance checkups. Remember to check with the tires’ manufacturer for the correct pressure and what outside temperatures might affect their performance. Rotating your tires regularly is also advised to keep the same thickness and balance of your wheels.


Never assume that your car brakes are always working properly. Have a professional check your brakes, brake pedal, brake linings, and brake fluid periodically to prevent an accident from occurring. Don’t just do this when you’re about to go on a road trip. Even if you’re only driving around the area or to and from work, regular brake maintenance is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others safe while on the road. 

If you wait to hear the annoying screeching of the brake pads signaling that they no longer work, the repair to your brakes will be much more expensive. If the brake light comes on your dashboard, you should take the vehicle to a professional immediately.

Power Steering Fluid

The majority of the manufacturers recommend changing this fluid every 62,000 miles. However, it could be necessary to make that change in advance if any of the following scenarios happen:

  • Change of color; oil is darkening
  • The sudden presence of a burning smell
  • Increased resistance when turning the steering wheel
  • Presence of abnormal noises when turning the steering wheel
  • Low power steering fluid level or total loss of fluid

Moreover, you should start the habit of changing the power steering fluid if you have made any repairs to the pump or any other steering component.

Tire Alignment

Have you ever noticed that your car turns slightly to the left or the right when it should go straight? If so, it is the right time to take your vehicle for a tire alignment fix — to ensure they react and run properly.


Antifreeze fluid prevents corrosion and calcification in the car engine. There are different types of antifreeze fluids in the market, and some of them lose their properties over time. You should check what kind of antifreeze your car needs. Here are some items to include in your maintenance schedule:

  • Those that contain glycol should be changed every 24,000 miles or every two years
  • Organic antifreeze should be changed every 50,000 miles or five years

If the antifreeze light turns on in your dashboard, this means that your engine is overheating, and your coolant level is very low. You’ll have to open the hood and leave it as is until the engine has cooled down. Do not try to touch the radiator because you could burn yourself!

Tire Tread

The life of your tires depends on their tread, which provides traction on asphalt, especially in slippery conditions. To make sure your tires are working properly, look for any signs of abnormal wear on the surface or watch out for strange lumps that could indicate a problem.

Air Filter

An air filter is a porous material designed to prevent dust or other particles from getting into the engine. The filtered air is necessary for the car’s fuel. Keep in mind that for every liter of fuel that your vehicle consumes, it needs 10,000 liters of air. With that said, you should change the engine air filter every 9,000 miles or once a year. 

If the environmental conditions are not favorable for your vehicle, chances are, you will have to change the filter sooner. The main indicators that your air filter needs to be replaced are lack of power, and the exhaust is emitting black or opaque smoke.

Transmission Fluid

To avoid an expensive repair, you should frequently check the levels of this fluid. A majority of car models allow you to check it with a transmission dipstick while the engine is working. When you do it, you should check the color of the fluid. If it is black, you will have to wash the transmission and change the fluid.

Although every make and model is different, usually, transmission fluid should be changed every 37,000 miles or two years.

If you are going to change the fluid yourself, remember to check what type of transmission your car has. Since not all vehicles use the same transmission fluid, you will need a fluid with special characteristics suited for your car.

The most common fluids are:

  • DCTF: Double Clutch Transmission Fluid
  • ATF: Automatic Transmission Fluid
  • CVTF: Continuously Variable Transmission Fluid

It is important to know whether your transmission needs a synthetic or an organic fluid and if it needs to be high-performance or not. To find out all this information, you must check the owner’s manual or visit your nearest auto shop.


It is dangerous when the lights on your car are not working properly. Also, this could lead to a fine if you get into an accident where it’s your fault. Remember that the lights (like tail lights) help keep you safe on the road and allow you to communicate with other drivers. Have your lights checked regularly to avoid being caught in an accident!

Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers control impact and bounce when your car goes through a pothole, making them an essential part of the steering system. To ensure that your shock absorbers are working properly, you should check them every 50,000 miles or whenever you feel a decrease in smoothness when driving or a loss of control.

Don’t Skip a Scheduled Basic Car Maintenance Service Appointment

Remember to check your vehicle’s owner manual (usually found in the glove box) to find out the recommended schedule for a regular maintenance checkup. Be sure to check on your car’s tire rotation and wheel alignment. 

When visiting a service center, remember to examine whether or not your serpentine belt, spark plugs, wiper blades, or engine components need replacing. Remember that a visual inspection of your vehicle is important to ensure your car’s optimal performance — having a car maintenance checklist can help you spot potential problems. 

If you are a new driver, you must make it a point to learn your vehicle’s warning lights, such as the check engine light. Learning what each warning light means can help you avoid untoward accidents.

Why You Need an Expert Car Accident Lawyer On Speed Dial

Keeping up with regular car maintenance not only helps save on repair costs, but it guarantees the correct function of your vehicle. More importantly, a vehicle maintenance checklist will minimize the possibility of a car accident.

If despite annual car maintenance, you or a loved one still get involved in a car accident through someone else’s fault, remember that Farahi Law Firm is here to help. We have expert vehicle accident attorneys who are experienced in vehicle-related concerns and are passionate about getting you the compensation you are entitled to. 

Call us at (844) 824-2955 for a free evaluation of your case.

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