A trained, qualified mechanic with the expertise and equipment to do the job correctly should be able to perform most of the maintenance on your car. However, you should also pay attention to what's going on under the hood. The owner's manual for your car will provide you with a maintenance schedule for your specific make and model.
Additionally, you can do the following simple checks and procedures to help prevent problems - and extend the life of your vehicle:
- Change the oil and oil filter regularly - The owner's manual for your car will specify exactly how often you should do this, but a good rule of thumb is to change them every 3,000 to 4,000 miles. If you change the oil and filter yourself, be sure to dispose of the used oil properly.
- Check all the fluids - This includes brake, power steering, transmission, transaxle, windshield washer and antifreeze fluids. Your owner's manual will tell you how to check these.
- Check the air pressure level in your tires at least once a month - Your owner's manual should specify the ideal air pressure for your particular tire.
- Make sure all your lights work - This includes headlights, turn signals, brake lights and taillights.
- Replace the windshield wiper blades periodically - If your wiper blades are cracked or torn, or if they begin to streak, it's time to replace them.
- Inspect the engine belts -They should not have cracks or missing segments.
- Check the air filter - The filter should be clean, not clogged or damaged.