Basic Car Maintenance Checklist and Schedule

car maintenance checklist

If you’re like most people, car maintenance happens when something goes wrong or quits working. But following a schedule can keep you safer and if you can show you’ve stayed on top of your car’s maintenance it could boost the resale value.

First of all, always check with the owner’s manual that came with your car for the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep in mind that certain driving conditions may require you to step up your car maintenance checklist schedule, as recommended in your manual. This includes if you:

  • Drive in a lot of stop-and-go traffic
  • Use your car to carry heavier loads
  • Regularly drive mountainous or rough roads
  • Live in a dusty or salty environment
  • Live where it is excessively hot, below freezing or high in humidity
  • Drive five miles or less every day

The Ultimate Car Maintenance Checklist Schedule

Check Every Month


  • Oil and coolant levels
  • Brake fluid level
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Wiper blades
  • Tire pressure and condition
  • Headlights and break lights

Check Every Three Months (3,000 to 5,000 miles)


  • Automatic transmission fluid
  • Battery and cables
  • Power steering fluid
  • Fan belt
  • Hoses


  • Change oil
  • Change oil filter
  • Lubricate chassis

Check Every Year (12,000 to 15,000 miles)

  • Change engine air filter
  • Check brakes and wheel bearings
  • Flush coolant
  • Change cabin air filter
  • Check steering and suspension
  • Lubricate door and hood hinges

Use this car maintenance checklist to keep your vehicle in good running condition, but, again, check your owner’s manual for tips and suggestions related to your specific car. Car Care Council provides an in-depth look at the components.

For more great information about cars, check out the EINSURANCE Auto Journal.


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