Keeping on top of your car’s maintenance can help set you up for success by avoiding bigger problems down the road.

Follow this guide regularly to help keep your car roadworthy. If you have any doubts or aren’t sure, check with your mechanic.

  Quick tip

Check your car regularly, or at least before long bookings and busy periods like Christmas, Easter, long weekends and summer.

 

Give your car a regular check up  

This should take 10-15 mins to complete.

Before checkup

  1. Take care performing the check up.
  2. If something doesn’t seem right, you should head to your mechanic.

Inside the car

Electrics
  1. Turn on your car. 
  2. Check your dashboard for any system alerts.
  3. If there are any issues, refer to your car manual.
Fuel
  1. Check fuel, gas or electric charge. Your car should have at least 1/4 tank full.
  2. Top it up if getting low.
Seatbelts
  1. Check all the seatbelts to make sure they’re not frayed or twisted.
  2. Make sure the buckle engages and releases.
  3. Pull the seatbelt and let it go to so that it retract.

Outside the car

Lights
  1. Turn on your car and check the lights, indicators and hazards.
  2. If any don’t work, either replace them yourself or get a mechanic to replace them.
Tyres

  Quick tip

  • To check tyre pressure they should be cold - so not immediately after driving.
  • Service stations often have a tool to check the tyre pressure and top them up,
  • You can use a tyre pressure gauge or use the 20c trick to measure
  1. Check your tyre’s for wear and tear. There should be no punctures, uneven wear or tears.
  2. Check the tyre’s tread.Each tyre has a minimum tread of 1.5mm All car tyres have tread wear indicator bars moulded into the tyre. You can feel them if you run your finger in between the big tread grooves towards the middle of the tyre.
  3. Check the tyre’s pressure. You can check your car’s optimal tyre pressure. You can usually find this on the driver’s door.
  4. If the pressure is low, top the pressure up.

If you have any doubts about your tyres, go to your mechanic.

Leaks

Check for any oil or other fluid leaks around the car.

 

Under the bonnet

Water

  Quick tip

Wait until the engine is cool, and make sure the car is parked on level ground.

  1. Check the wiper water level.

    This usually has a symbol of a windscreen wiper on it and you can see the level on the outside.
    There may be a separate tank for the rear window.

  2. Top it up with windscreen wash if it’s low.
  3. Check the coolant level.

    This is usually a white transparent bottle bolted to one side of the engine bay.
It may have the word 'coolant' on it, or a symbol of an engine or radiator.

  4. Top it up if it’s low.

    You can buy coolant at service station and car shops in store and online.

Oil and brake fluid

  Quick tip

Wait until the engine is cool, and make sure the car is parked on level ground.

Check the oil level

  1. Open the bonnet.
  2. Find the dipstick.

    This usually has a yellow or orange handle with an oil can symbol.

  3. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a paper towel.
  4. Push it all the way back in, wait a second, then pull it back out again.
  5. Note the oil level.

    This should be in between the 'high' and 'low' marks on the dipstick.

  6. Top up if low.

    You can buy oil at service station and car shops in store and online.

Check the brake fluid level

  1. Open the bonnet.
  2. Find the brake fluid reservoir.

    This is usually under the bonnet.

  3. Note the fluid level.
    This should be in between the 'high' and 'low' marks.
  4. Top up if low.
    You should consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic to check for leaks and/or old brake fluid.

Go for a test drive

Brakes
  1. Check how the brake pedal moves.

    It shouldn’t move further than normal nor feel soft or spongy, if it does check the brake fluid levels.

  2. Park on a hill and check the handbrake.

    This should keep you parked in position If your brake pedal pulsates or vibrates when you brake, or if your car pulls to one side when you brake you should take it to a mechanic for a brake check.

 

After the check up

If there’s anything that you can’t fix or aren’t confident about, go to your mechanic to get it serviced and fixed.

  Quick tip

You may need to block out your calendar for this.

 

Our resources to help keep your car roadworthy

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Comments

1 comment
  • Tyre Tread Depth; the explanation here could confuse readers that the depth indicator must never reach level with the tyre tread.
    To quote NRMA article at https://www.mynrma.com.au/cars-and-driving/roadside-assistance/car-tyres/resources/how-do-i-know-when-my-tyres-are-worn

    "These marks will be spaced regularly throughout the circumference of the tyre. If you look at your tyre and the tread is level at any point with these indicators, the tread is at 1.5mm or less and it’s time to change your tyres.

    Remember, if you see that your tyres are getting close to the wear indicators, it pays to change them early."
    Please review your explanation to be more precise. Thank you for providing these many guides.

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