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The Ultimate DIY Car Repair and Maintenance Checklist 2.0

Preventive Car Maintenance to Keep Your Vehicle Up on Performance

Knowing your car is great!

Knowing that you’ve to go for car repair after specific intervals is even better!

But how about getting an idea of when and what to repair or maintain in your automobile?

And that too in a diy car repair and maintenance guide.

This will make you unstoppable and your ride would be the best in town.

So today, we want to share the ultimate DIY car repair and maintenance checklist 2.0, which will give your car superpowers and peak performance.

car engine - diy car repair

Nothing is everlasting and speaking of cars, this statement is absolutely true. When a car manufacturer designs a vehicle, he is certain of the fact that there are some mechanical components, which will degrade or spoil before the others. This is true to some extent, however, there are ways through which we can repair or maintain these necessary auto parts to give your vehicle a healthy and longer peak performance. This ultimate DIY car repair and maintenance checklist will provide you with the exact time, when you should repair or check these engine components. It will also provide you with a detailed outlook of things that you should include in your car maintenance plan.

Preventive DIY Car Repair and Maintenance

The maintenance of your car will serve to prolong its overall life. It will also allow your vehicle to be as close as new. When we speak of corrective maintenance, we refer to those operations that have no other remedy than opting to repair or replace. When a component fails, these are the only two options, and if you follow this checklist and keep on with the preventive maintenance, you’d be able to save much on the repairs and replacements.

diy car repair

So, to start off, here are a few important things about cars:

  • Never let your car drop at the slightest noise, defect or problem, you have to take it to a garage straight away. If you’re your own mechanic, then the first thing in your mind should be to park it in your do it yourself garage, and look for the possible cause of problem. It’s very important that you learn how to organize your garage, so that you should have ample space for your vehicle and all important things must be handily available to you.
  • Always go for preventive maintenance to avoid corrective maintenance. Create a car maintenance plan, which will have a list of all the items that you should take review at specific interval of time or after a set span of usage. If you fail to do proper preventive maintenance, you’d have to end up at the expensive end, which is repairing or replacing parts.
  • The exterior of your car is as important as the interior or engine. So proper cleanliness goes a long way to save the originality of your vehicle. A proper wash with a good polish will make your car outshine the others. Do give special attention to the interior and don’t let it get faded or catch dirt.
  • Proper checking of wheels and tires is of extreme importance. You’ve to check tire pressure, make sure that the wheel alignment is okay and also keep a check on wheel balancing for a smoother drive.
  • It is important to know even the basic parts of the engine and what liquids are important and know how to measure and fill them as their default standard. Do check our car maintenance guide if you’re not familiar with these basics.
  • It is convenient to have a box or backpack with the necessary tool organized in your garage. They will help you do these basic things yourself. For a complete list of necessary tools, carry on reading.

garage - diy car repair

It is very useful to carry a record in a spreadsheet that allows you to know how your car is performing, as well as to keep a vehicle maintenance log of what things are being done in it, such as tuning, braking, etc. This will serve even when you want to sell the car. The fields should include:

  1. Date
  2. Mileage
  3. Description
  4. Cost
  5. Liters (if it was gasoline charge)
  6. Mileage Difference
  7. Miles / liter (if it was gasoline charge)

Basic engine components

In order to perform diy car repair and maintenance, it is essential that you have an idea about the engine. You must know which components are present at where and how they look like. Please refer to the image of a standard engine to have a rough idea about essential components in it. The location of these auto parts might differ for different engine types, but their importance remains the same.

car engine - diy car repair

Car Battery

Battery provides electricity to the car. It is the basic current that starts an engine. Other functions of a vehicle also require a constant supply of electric current through which certain functions are performed. Cars come with dry or wet battery. The maintenance of dry battery is much easier than that of a wet one as it requires periodic top-up of distilled water.

Oil Change Inlet

By means of this, the oil is supplied to the engine. Oil is very important to avoid friction between moving metal parts. A low or no level can cause a car to “unfasten” (friction and heat break the rods that move the pistons and total movement is transmitted to the wheels). There is mono-grid oil that works well at room temperature, multi-grade oil that works well in cold and heat and chemically created synthetic oil for optimum performance. The best and most expensive is the synthetic oil; one not so expensive and good performance is the multi-grade oil.

Washer fluid reservoir

This tank contains the liquid used to clean the windshield. In the market, they sell special cans with this type of liquid with soap and other elements. However, one can create his own liquid by mixing shampoo with water and some alcohol. No problem to keep it full.

Deposit for antifreeze

It is the liquid that controls the temperature of the engine. This liquid doesn’t freeze even in very cold areas. Water can also be used in this inlet, although the former is better.

Deposit for Steering

All power steering cars require special oil for the mechanical parts to move smoothly. For this, the steering fluid is used. The mark of minimum and maximum filling can be in the plug or in the tank itself.

Oil level check rod.

It is used to determine the oil level inside of an engine. To perform this task; you have to have the engine off and the car on a flat surface, to avoid bad readings by some inclination. Minimum and maximum filling notches on the rod. To verify the filling condition, the rod is removed, cleaned and reinserted to avoid bad readings.

Brake fluid reservoir

It is the fluid used to push the brake shoes to apply the brakes. Without this fluid, the braking capabilities of a car will be severely compromised. The container has the minimum and maximum filling mark.

Fuse Box

In this box, there are fuses for different electrical systems of the car. Generally, on the cover you can see the distribution and use of each one. Occasionally, there is another fuse box inside the passenger compartment of the car, but those are for other applications like the car stereo.

Air filter

The air that enters the engine to provide oxygen for combustion has to enter filtered, for that, the air filter is used. It removes impurities for the intake to return best results.

Rod to hold the car hood

When the hood of a car is opened, it requires something to hold it up in the opened state. This rod helps to hold the hood, so that you can do all you want under it.

We have not discussed any engine components that are inside the engine and require much more skill level than diy auto repair. These components are pistons, shafts and valves among many other important auto parts.

engine - diy car repair

Preventive DIY Car Repair and Maintenance Checklist

In the following section, all the components that require periodic diy car repair and maintenance are briefly described for you to get an overall idea. The most basic such as checking oil levels and even changing an air filter, can be done by you very easily. The most detailed or laborious will have to be inspected by a mechanic that you trust. For this maintenance section, I relied on a specialized manual.

diy car repair checklist

Every 300 miles or a week, whichever comes first:

  • Check oil level.
  • Check antifreeze level
  • Check brake level
  • Check transmission oil level
  • Check wiper fluid level
  • Check tires and their pressure (include spare tire)

Every 2,000 Miles or 3 months, whichever comes first:

  • Make change of oil and its filter
  • Check steering oil level
  • Check transmission oil level
  • Rotate tires
  • Check air filter

Every 5,000 Miles or 6 months, whichever comes first:

  • Make change of oil and its filter
  • Inspect and replace hoses
  • Check band
  • Check and service battery
  • Inspect and lubricate automatic transmission shift union
  • Lubricate the chassis

Every 10,000 Miles or 12 months, whichever comes first:

  • Check and refill the manual transmission lubricant
  • Check differential lubricant level
  • Check the lubricant level of the gearbox
  • Check and replace the PCV valve
  • Check fuel system
  • Inspect the cooling system
  • Inspect the exhaust system
  • Inspect suspension components and steering
  • Inspect the brakes and lubricate the caliper
  • Check / lubricate front wheel bearings (2WD)
  • Check the center lock, and lubricate the axle and front wheel bearings (4WD)
  • Inspect / replace wiper blades
  • Clean/Adjust rear brakes

Every 20,000 Miles or 24 months, whichever comes first:

  • Change the filter and fluid of the automatic transmission
  • Apply service to the cooling system (empty, clean and refill)
  • Check / replace spark plugs/plug wires

Every 25,000 Miles or 30 months, whichever comes first:

  • Replace the spark plugs
  • Replace the air filter
  • Check / replace the fuel filter
  • Change the differential lubricant
  • Change gearbox lubricant
  • Lubricate gimbal linkage (vans)
  • Lubricate steering linkage

This is a checklist that can allow you create your own ultimate diy car repair and maintenance plan. Do keep on checking these very important things at proper intervals to get the best out of your beautiful ride. If you want to buy a used car, then you can also use the above information and check how good it is maintained.

Leave a comment and let us know how you can apply this checklist to upgrade your car performance.

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Happy Car Repair!

About Nick Fury

Hi, I am Nick! Apart from being a loving husband and a father of one, I dedicate myself to manage a company full time. Writing is my passion, I started writing a blog some 10 years ago, now reviving this passion again, I would love to express my views and takes on day to day stuff, hope you guys enjoy! Do share your thoughts.

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