Every Six Months, What Should I Check On My Car?
Regular car maintenance and inspections are essential to ensuring a safe and reliable ride. While more extensive services and replacements may be required less frequently, a 6-month inspection should be carried out to check the basic health of your car as a general rule. This guide will take you through the checklist of what you should check on your vehicle every six months.
Benefits of Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections can help uncover issues before they become more severe and expensive. It also helps ensure your car runs as safely and efficiently as possible. By ensuring that your vehicle is regularly maintained, you can save money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs that could have easily been avoided.
Checklist for 6-Monthly Car Maintenance
Here is a checklist of tasks you should carry out during your 6-monthly inspection:
- Change your oil and filter
- Check and replace fluids
- Inspect the brakes
- Check the battery and electrical system
- Perform tire care and maintenance
- Inspect the exhaust system
- Ensure proper alignment and suspension
- Visually inspect the vehicle
How to Change Your Oil and Filter
It is essential to regularly change the oil and filter in your car to keep the engine running smoothly. This task can be carried out at home if you are comfortable with the process, but it is also worth getting a professional mechanic to look at it. Here’s how to do it:
- Lift the car on a jack and ensure it is secure on jack stands.
- Remove the oil filler cap, usually located at the top of the engine.
- Set up a drip pan beneath the oil drain plug.
- Use a socket wrench to remove the drain plug and drain the oil.
- Replace the drain plug O-ring and then replace the plug.
- Gently unscrew the oil filter with an oil filter removal tool.
- Replace the oil filter with a new one and secure it in place.
- Refill the engine with new oil until it reaches the correct level.
- Replace the oil filler cap.
- Start up the engine to check for any leaks.
Checking and Replacing Fluids
It is important to check your car’s fluids regularly to ensure they are at the right level and in good condition. The most common fluid types you should check are engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid. If any of these fluids are low or appear dirty or discolored, they should be replaced with new fluid.
Inspecting the Brakes
It is important to check your brakes every six months to ensure they are in good working condition. The first thing you should do is look for any signs of wear or damage. If there are any signs of wear, it is vital to get a mechanic to look at them, as worn brakes can cause serious safety issues. You should also check the brake fluid level and top up if necessary.
Checking the Battery and Electrical System
It is important to check that your car’s battery and electrical system are in good working order. Check for any corrosion on the terminals or battery casing, and brush away any loose dirt or debris. If you notice any signs of corrosion or damage, get a professional mechanic to look at it as soon as possible. You should also check that all lights and indicators are working correctly.
Tire Care and Maintenance
Tire care and maintenance is an integral part of 6-monthly vehicle inspections. You should check for any signs of wear or damage, such as bulges, cracks, or uneven tread wear. You should also check that all tires are inflated to the correct pressure. If not, inflate them to the manufacturer’s specifications using a tire pressure gauge.
Inspecting the Exhaust System
The exhaust system should be inspected regularly to ensure it is in good condition. Check all pipes and hangers for any signs of rust or damage. If there are any issues, get a mechanic to inspect it as soon as possible, as a damaged exhaust system can cause dangerous fumes in the cabin.
Ensuring Proper Alignment and Suspension
Proper alignment and suspension are essential for a smooth ride and safe handling. Check that all shock absorbers are in good condition and are not leaking any fluid. Also, check that all suspension bushings, ball joints, and tie rods are in good condition. If you notice any issues, take your car to a professional mechanic for inspection.
Visually Inspecting the Vehicle
A visual inspection of your car should include looking for any signs of rust or damage on the bodywork and checking that all trim pieces and external fixtures are securely attached. Also, check that all windows and mirrors are clean and functioning correctly. If you notice any issues, take your car to a professional mechanic.
Tips for Making 6-Monthly Vehicle Maintenance Easier
Here are some tips for making 6-monthly vehicle maintenance easier:
- Keep records: It is essential to keep records of all maintenance work done on your car to track when things need to be done again.
- Make a checklist: A checklist of all tasks needed during your 6-monthly inspection can help you stay organized and ensure that nothing is missed.
- Set reminders: Setting reminders in your calendar or phone can help you remember when it’s time for your next 6-monthly inspection.
- Take it to a professional: If you’re not comfortable carrying out some of the tasks yourself, it is worth getting a professional mechanic to help. This can save you time, money, and effort in the long run.
- : Get an oil change kit:: A good oil change kit will include everything you need for changing your oil at home, including an oil filter removal tool, an oil drain plug, an oil filter wrench, and a drip pan.
- : Invest in tools:: Investing in tools such as a tire pressure gauge or socket wrench can help make maintenance tasks more manageable.
Common Problems to Look Out For
Some common problems to look out for during 6-monthly vehicle inspections include engine oil leaks, coolant leaks, worn brakes, faulty electrics, flat tires, loose hoses or clamps, loose suspension parts, and corroded battery terminals.
When to Take Your Car to a Professional Mechanic
If you notice any signs of wear or damage during your 6-monthly inspection, it is best to take your car to a professional mechanic for further examination and repairs. Additionally, if you’re not comfortable carrying out some tasks yourself, such as changing your oil or inspecting the brakes, it is best to get a professional to do it for you.