Simple Car Maintenance Checks You Should Be Doing

Cars need regular care to make sure they’re always ready to perform at their best. A simple car check once a week can minimise any potential problems that may occur.

If you don’t drive often then you might have some issues with your vehicle due to disuse, but with a few checks and actions, you can prevent any problems that might come your way.

A car is not designed to sit on a driveway or in a garage for days or weeks on end. It’s important to look after your car so it doesn’t deteriorate and no new issues emerge without you realising until you start driving it. There are many parts of a car where problems can occur if they are not well maintained.

With some basic car maintenance tips, you will be able to perform a simple car check and avoid any risks of breaking down or endangering yourself whilst you’re out on the roads.

Tyre pressure

If you leave your car unused for a long period, especially in cold weather, you may notice a drop in tyre pressure and flat spots can also appear. It’s easy to spot a flat tyre, however it would be better for your vehicle and tyres if you take action earlier, before it gets to that stage. 

Your tyres should be pumped to the manufacturer-recommended PSI, which can be found in the vehicle handbook, or in some cases, within the passenger/driver door sill. 

Keeping your car moving can also help prevent any flat spots from appearing, alternatively, if you own a set of axle stands, it might be worth elevating your vehicle off the ground if you’re not going to be using it any time soon. It’s also important for you to check for any visual damage to your tyres, such as cracks, cuts, bulges or uneven wear.

Tyre tread depth

Another key factor for car maintenance includes checking your tyre tread depth to make sure it’s meeting the legal minimum of 1.6mm at the very least. An easy way to test this is to place a 20p coin in a groove of the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band of the coin the tread should be fine, however, if you can then you should look into replacing your tyres


If they’re not used regularly or looked after properly, brakes can deteriorate quickly. Brake discs can rust and corrode, which could result in your brake seizing, and you may find that your handbrake is stiff or locked when you first try to release it. 

If you suffer from any major brake damage then you will need a professional to fix it, which is likely to involve expensive repairs. Rolling your vehicle back and forth ever so slightly will help keep your brakes well maintained as this keeps the discs moving. 

This will also help your tyres and prevent any flat spots from appearing as you’re adjusting the pressure on them. 


If you don’t use your car much, or only use it for short journeys, this can result in your battery being drained. Older cars are at risk of getting a flat battery, but batteries can also drain in new cars if they are left for too long owing to power drawn from the factory-fitted alarm. 

Oil, coolant and antifreeze

If they are left for too long, additives and chemicals in motor oil can cause damage to mechanical components. This is why car maintenance is so important, as swapping for fresh fluid and switching on the ignition can help to reduce and remove any excess dirt or debris that can build up in your engine. 

It’s worth topping up your oil to make sure all moving parts are lubricated properly, as well as checking for water within your brake fluid, which can make the brakes feel ‘spongy’ if the percentage is too high. 

While the bonnet is open, it’s worth checking your windscreen washer fluid levels. 

During winter, the liquid may have frozen which could cause the washer bottle to crack, so be aware that even if it stays full, it might not function properly, so give it a try before you start driving. 

If your vehicle is going to be out of action for a few weeks, you should consider replacing your coolant and topping up the antifreeze so it meets the volume stated in your vehicle’s handbook. 


If you didn’t know before, fuel has an expiry date. So if you’re vehicle hasn’t been used for a long period and you try to run it on old petrol or diesel, this won’t go down well. 

Filling your tank can help prevent a build-up of air, which will minimise the risk of condensation, slow down the rate of oxidation, and therefore prolong the life of your fuel. Owning a quality fuel stabiliser will keep petrol or diesel fresh for as long as 12 months. 

However, when you decide to take your vehicle out on the roads again, make sure you check your seals and fuel lines for any signs of dryness or fatigue. Using additives will also help prolong the life of the engine, and in some cases improve engine performance. . 

Air conditioning

Dust, moisture and mould can build up in the system if you don’t regularly use your air conditioning. This can result in an unpleasant smell when you decide to use your air-con, but it can also result in it working less effectively. When you are conducting a simple car check, you can simply switch on your car’s air conditioning when you go for a drive or run the engine to help keep the vents clear and in good condition. 


Every so often you should check your fog lamps, brake lights, headlamps and side lights as you never know when you might next need to drive in the dark. If you notice any of your lights aren’t working, you should replace them as soon as you can – driving with faulty essential lights (headlamp, brake lights) could lead to a spot fine by the police if caught..

Electric vehicles

Electric and hybrid vehicles need looking after just like petrol and diesel cars. It’s important to keep their batteries topped up as they can go flat after a period of inaction. One of the ways to prevent a flat battery is to plug in your car (ideally not to full charge) or to put the car in “ready mode” for a certain amount of time each week. 

Check your vehicle handbook if you require any specific information, as advance can vary between models. 

Exterior and interior care

If you’re fortunate enough to own a garage, then keeping your vehicle under a roof will help protect it from moss, dirt, rust and bird mess. Leaving a window slightly open will allow air to circulate and prevent mould. A vehicle cover can work wonders if you don’t have a garage, just make sure you clean your vehicle before covering it so you don’t compress any grime that could damage the paintwork. 

Waxing your car will also help protect the paintwork from any elements and keep the bodywork in good condition. If you know you’re not going to be using your vehicle for a while, make sure you clean the inside so you aren’t surprised by any horrible smells when you get back in your car. 

These car maintenance tips will help keep your car looking brand new and will also prevent you from suffering any consequences on the roads. 

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