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Your Car Care Checklist

Having your car serviced at regular intervals is important for safety reasons and also to keep your car in the best shape for as long as possible. But a trap that many people fall into is to rely solely on these services, and they don’t give their car a look over much more than that. However, it is important to continue caring for your car even between services as this is the time you will pick up on anything starting to go wrong and can make changes before they become expensive problems.

In an ideal world, you would conduct weekly checks on your car. Make it part of your Saturday morning routine and you should be done quite quickly. There are things you can look out for each week, some things you need only check monthly and then there are bigger things you should focus on at the half-yearly mark.

Each week you should do a quick check of the following areas: windscreen washers, lights, engine oil, power-steering fluid and tyre pressure.

The rest of the checklist doesn’t need to be completed as often as the items above, so it’s a good idea to mark them on your calendar so that you don’t forget about them:


The car battery is something that is easily forgotten … until it stops working. And usually that is right at the worst time. There isn’t much you can do about a battery running out but you can maintain it by checking the electrolyte levels every month and you can also keep marked on your calendar the rough timing that it might need replacing so that it isn’t a complete shock when it runs out. Depending on the battery, the life span should be about 48 – 60 months.

Automatic trans fluid and filter

Fluid for the transmission is a really important element to how a car functions. The fluid keeps everything within a safe temperature and also stops friction. If ignored, you will end up with a very serious and expensive problem on your hands. To stop any issues occurring, you just need to check the fluid every month and then top it up when needed. It will need to be changed completely every 2 years to keep the quality at it’s best level.

Wash and wax

Washing your car regularly is far more important than what many people realise, and it isn’t just for looks. You should give your car a good wash and clean once a month to get rid of dirt build up.

Dirt can be quite damaging to the paint on your car. As it builds up it acts almost like sandpaper, leaving scratches and marks in the paint. Waiting for rain to wash it off is even worse, as the rain mixes with the dirt and then slides down the car, causing more damage. It is best to just mark a regular time in your diary for washing the car so that you can keep it looking fresh and clean. Make sure you include a wax as this acts as a protective barrier to the car between washes.

Spark plugs

Modern cars are quite advanced when it comes to spark plug construction and cleaner-burning engines, but you still have to keep an eye on them. Although they are not required to be replaced until between 30,000 – 100,000 miles now, it is still an important part of the engine that you need to check on occasionally. If they are starting to wear you will notice the engine is running inadequately and you may fail your emissions test.


You should check the air pressure in your tyres weekly, as flat tyres can be a major safety issue. Actually replacing your tyres will come down to how worn the tread is, and this is something you can check yourself. Most new tyres will have 8-9mm tread and will need to be replaced once they get down to 1.6mm. You can check the tyre indicators on your tread pattern, which will appear as lines across the tread once you are down to 1.6mm.

Tyres can last between 6 and 10 years, however even with a safe tread it is highly recommended not to use them for longer than six years. This is due to other factors, such as exposure to sunlight and heat making a tyre unsafe over a long period of time, even if it looks brand new.

Windscreen wiper inserts

You should check your wiper blades every single month. That is because they are wearing down with each use, and in the dry months when they aren’t being used all that often, they are deteriorating in the hot Aussie sun. You need to check them so often because you don’t want to work out that they need replacing right in the middle of a rain storm as that will really compromise your safety. Wiper blades should be replaced at the start of every winter (more often if they start to look worn down) and you should always replace both at the same time.This checklist does not replace taking your car for a service regularly. There are many more safety items that a professional mechanic will be checking such as brake pads, timing belts and fuel filters, but it will help keep your car in the best shape possible between services.

Engine Oil

Engine Oil should be changed every 10,000kms. For newer cars which have travelled under 100,000kms, you can use a thin oil. For older engines and vehicles that are showing signs of engine oil consumpution, use a slightly thicker oil. 

Car Care tips to keep your car in tip top shape