Car maintenance checklist

Ever wondered what you need to do to keep your car in good condition? Here's our top tips to help you, as well as why car maintenance is so important!


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Jan 29th, 2021

Like many things in life, our cars need regular care and attention. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be broken down at the side of the road, or see your car fail its MOT on simple issues that could have been prevented! As many of us aren’t driving as much at the moment – car maintenance is key!
So what does maintenance mean on a car? Well, essentially all it is, is keeping an eye on certain aspects of your car to ensure it’s in good shape. Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
We’re going to show you what car maintenance includes, how to do maintenance on your car and why car maintenance is necessary. These basic car maintenance tasks will keep your car in top condition for when we’re back to those fun filled road trips!

Tyre checks

Even when your car isn’t being used, your tyres can lose pressure. They can also develop flat spots if they’re stationary for a long period of time. Every couple of weeks, and before a journey, you should check your tyre pressure and tread depth as well as the condition of your tyres to ensure you are safe to drive. Did you know - keeping your tyres pumped up and maintained also helps with your fuel efficiency!

Avoid a flat battery

If your car isn’t being used as much at the moment, or is perhaps only being used on very short trips, this can have a knock on effect on your car battery. It can lead to your car battery not getting fully charged up, which in turn can stop it from working which, when you do eventually need to start the car, it simply won’t start.
So how do you check your car battery? Well to check the voltage you’ll need a car battery tester - they’re pretty simple to use and you can find them in most car accessory shops or online. Take a look in your car owners manual for the how much charge your battery should have (it’s usually around 12-13 volts)
It’s super important to look after the health of your car battery and there’s a couple of different ways you can do it:
  • Try to avoid turning your car off and on-again multiple times
  • Unplug anything when the car isn’t in use that may be using the power – such as a dashcam
  • Avoid frequent short car journeys. If you have access to more than one car, switch it up for drives a bit further away

Lights checks

Check all the lights on your car are working once a week, cleaning any dirt off them to ensure they shine bright. It's worth asking a member of your household to help you – they can see how your lights are working from the outside, whilst you’re in the car operating the switches. Some modern cars with an on-board computer will let you know if a light has failed - but it's worth being in the habit of checking yourself just in case.

Windscreen check

Keep an eye out for any damage or cracks on your windscreen. If you discover damage, you should get it replaced or repaired ASAP. Whilst we don't all keep our cars spotlessly clean - it's essential that you keep your windows clean to ensure you have the best visibility. Also remember in the winter months to not use boiling water to defrost your windscreen - this will likely lead to your windscreen cracking!


Don't forget to give your wipers a wipe when cleaning your car. Getting them changed once a year should make sure you won't be caught short with smeary windows in the rain - but if you notice they are dragging or not performing as they should be, check and clean them, and if it doesn't improve, get them replaced. And let’s face it, window wipers are pretty essential for travelling in the UK!

Screen wash

We've all driven down muddy country lanes and found ourselves having to spray and wipe the windscreen over and over again. To avoid being caught short, make sure you check it every week (and top it up if necessary) - and before a long journey. If you're struggling to top up your screenwash, we've got a guide to help!


Every week, when the engine is cool, check the coolant level is within the minimum and maximum marks - after all, letting your engine overheat can cause damage. If you need advice on how to do this, check out our tips on topping up your coolant.


Check your oil weekly to make sure it's between the min and max levels. Again, make sure the engine is cool when you do this - and bear in mind that overfilling your engine with oil, can cause damage. Again, we've written a blog on how to check your engine oil - we're helpful like that!

Tool/emergency kit

In case of a breakdown, it's worth checking your emergency kit and tool kit are in the car. This includes making sure you have a spare wheel (or puncture repair kit), your locking wheel nut (if you have one), a jack, extra water and possibly some non-perishable snacks because what’s worse than breaking down? Breaking down when you’re hungry!

Car bodywork

When you're washing your car, or checking your tyres, it's worth giving your car's bodywork a quick once over to check for any signs of damage or rust. You can fix rusty bodywork yourself if it’s a small section, as it’s usually just cosmetic damage. If the rust starts to get bigger and you become concerned, speak to a mechanic as there may be a bigger issue.

Listen to you car

You'll know straight away if something doesn't sound quite right in the car. It's best not to ignore these things and hope they go away - instead make sure you get it checked out by a garage as soon as you can, as it may help you avoid a breakdown, or hefty bill later on.

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How often to do car maintenance

It’s a good idea to do routine maintenance on your car. Getting out and checking over your car once a month as well as regularly running it is a great way to keep your car in top shape. Regular maintenance on your car is so important - after all, we spend so much money on our cars, why wouldn’t we want to keep them in top condition? Keeping up normal maintenance on your car is key to keeping it running smoothly, working as it should, saving you money, and allowing you to not worry when it goes into the garage for an MOT or car service.

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