READ 50 Best Car Maintenance Tips

READ: 50 Best Car Maintenance Tips

If you just bought your first car and need a crash course on how to maintain it, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we listed some general tips for new car owners and car enthusiasts to help them keep their cars in tip-top shape. 

We address car care concerns about tires, fluids, lights, brakes, oil, and so on and so forth. Refer to this as a practical guide and don’t be afraid to share these with friends to keep them in the know as well. 

We divided these tips into sections for easier reference. 

What are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in. 


1. Your tires affect the car’s entirety so make it a personal habit to check them now and then. 


Your tires are one of the most crucial parts of your car. They affect your fuel economy, handling, braking distance, and overall safety, so it’s not something to take lightly. 

Make sure to check your tire condition and age, tire pressure, and tread depth. For checking the tread depth, you can use the penny test.  

For the penny test, you just need to insert a standard penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down and out. Should you see all of Lincoln’s face, then that means your tread depth is below standard and you may need new tires. 

Check this and repeat the process with all four of your tires. Check various places around each tire when using the penny test. 

It is important not only to check each tire but to check various places around each tire as well. Pay very close attention to the areas that look worn out.

Even if some parts of your tires pass the tests, you should still replace the tire when any of the areas fail the tests.

2. How do you know that something is wrong with your tires? Consistent wear is normal, uneven wear is a sign of something wrong. 

Having consistent wear, meaning all of your tires have equal or almost equal tire tread depths, is pretty normal. However, having uneven wear on your tires suggests other problems such as improper tire inflation, wheel misalignment, or other problems in your car.

If you see uneven tread wear, we recommend having a technician check your vehicle.

3. Say you need to have your tires replaced, make sure to know your vehicle’s tire specifications. 


To have the correct information as to which tires to buy, know the vehicle’s tire specifications. Consult the owner’s manual for this information.

The specifications would include the size of the tire, the loading capacity, and tire pressure.

Check the sticker on your door jam for easy access to your tire specifications. When you open the driver-side door of newer tires, on the door jam is a sticker that includes a summary of your tire’s specifications.

4. Replace all four tires at once. 

It may be tempting to just replace one or two of your tires to save money. However, we recommend having all of your tires replaced at once. 

As we’ve said in the first tip, your tires affect your car’s performance, so they need to be as identical as possible. 

Having different tires may result in instability because different tire manufacturers use different proprietary compounds in their tires, so they may not respond all at the same time. 

Note: If you are however facing a situation wherein you have to replace fewer than four tires, we recommend buying tires that are of the same size, loading capacity, and speed specifications by your car’s manufacturer.

If you are buying a pair, we recommend installing them on the rear axle as newer tires will have better grip. Greater traction on the rear will prevent vehicle instability.


5. Do not neglect your engine oil! 

Hands With Oil

It’s a rookie mistake to not check your engine oil regularly. Your engine oil is responsible for your engine’s longevity. 

It provides lubrication of engine parts that are subject to friction, further cooling of the engine, cleaning microscopic deposits from combustion residue, protects against corrosion, and seals the pistons and cylinders.

6. Check your owner’s manual for your oil specification. 

Your owner’s manual is your best friend. It contains the information that you need to choose the correct viscosity and amount of oil to use and how often you should change your oil. 

We recommend contacting your mechanic or local auto shop to schedule your oil change at your most convenient time.

7. Attempting to change your oil yourself? Have the correct gear ready for your oil change.

Oil Change

Make sure you have all the necessary gear like the following: 

  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Paper Towels
  • Oil (with the correct amount and viscosity)
  • The oil filter (with the correct size)
  • Oil drain plug gasket
  • Jack and Jack stand or a ramp
  • Rock or block
  • Oil catch pan
  • Funnel
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Ratchet 
  • Breaker bar or pipe

8. When you’re changing your oil, protect yourself by wearing gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection. 

Engine oil is a hydrocarbon that is bad for our skin. Use gloves and wear long sleeves if possible because prolonged contact with engine oil may cause dermatitis and other skin disorders. 

Eye protection is a must since engine oil is an irritant and therefore would cause stinging and pain to your eyes upon contact. 

9. You can opt for synthetic or conventional types of oil. Both work. 

Zoom In Oil

Your owner’s manual recommends the type of oil you need to use for your vehicle but if either works, then you can go with either. The only difference is that conventional types of oil are cheaper but synthetic ones last longer.

Contrary to the myth, you can transition from conventional to synthetic or vice-versa without any preparation. We suggest using synthetic oil for newer cars, though. 

10. During the process of changing your oil, always try to chock your rear tires. 

When lifting your car, always block your rear tires with a rock or a wooden block to prevent rolling. Then pull the emergency brake. 

If you have an automatic car, put it in the park. On the other hand, if you have a manual car, put it in first gear.

Make sure to do this because the last thing you want to see when changing your oil is your vehicle rolling backward! 

The indents under your car are supposed to mark where you can put your jack stands. This spot can fully support the weight of your car.

11. Speaking of jack stands, have your hydraulic jack support your vehicle after placing your jack stands. This is important when you’re changing your oil. 

Placing your hydraulic jack under your car to support the car is a good habit to have so that in case the jack stands to fail, you have another point of safety.

Then shake your car as much and as hard as you can to make sure the car is stable on the jack stands or ramp.

12.  If you don’t have jack stands, ramps, or hydraulic jacks, use the curb to lift your car when changing your oil. 

To lift the car, you can use the curb! It provides just enough lift to make space for you to squeeze under your car.

13. Make sure to let your car cool down for a bit before draining the oil. 

Man Fixing Car

Contrary to popular belief, it is better to let your car cool down before draining the oil so that you won’t be burnt by the hot oil. An advantage of hot oil is that it lets the oil flow much more quickly and smoothly, but it’s still better to be safe. 

14. Look for a black pan underneath the car with a bolt sticking out to locate the drain pan. 

There may be a lot of black pans underneath the car, but there is only one spot where there is a bolt sticking out. Look for this because this is the oil drain pan. 

Usually, the oil filter is also near this spot. If you can’t find the oil filter underneath the car, look near the engine under the bonnet.

15. Make sure to take into account the angle of the car when placing the oil catch pan. 

Placing the oil catch pan behind the oil drain pan is normally the practice since when the car is lifted the drain plug is aimed towards the back of the car. If you’re using a single jack stand or the curb, angle the catch pan towards one side (the one that is not lifted).

16. If you cannot loosen the oil drain plug with your ratchet, use a breaker bar or a pipe. 

Sometimes, the oil drain plug is tightened well, so use a breaker bar to loosen it. If you do not have a breaker pipe, use a pipe to lengthen your ratchet so that you can gain more leverage for a makeshift breaker bar.

You can then loosen the drain plug all the way using your ratchet.

17. Some cars have gaskets on their oil drain bolts. 

The gasket on your oil drain plug is for one-time use, so replace it when you change your oil. Check your car though, because some cars don’t need a gasket on the oil drain plug.

18. After draining, wipe your oil drain pan. 

Do your future self a favor by cleaning your oil drain pan and wiping it down after draining. This would also help you spot if there is a leak in your oil drain pan.

19. Do not over-tighten your drain plug.

After draining, you have to place your oil drain plug so that the oil would not leak. Furthermore, do not over-tighten this plug, over tightening your oil drain plug can strip your oil drain pan which could cause leaks in the future. 

Just tighten it into a snug fit.

20. Pre-oil your new oil filter with new oil. 

This is so that your engine won’t run dry, thus prolonging the life of your engine. Additionally, put a tiny amount of oil around the oil filter gasket so that it’d be easier to come off in the future and it prevents leakage.

Just hand-tighten your oil filter to prevent stripping the oil filter. A top tip is to write the mileage of your car on the oil filter so that you can track your most recent oil change.

21. Don’t forget to clean the area near your oil fill cap. 

The area near your oil fill cap might contain dirt and debris, so we recommend cleaning it out first to prevent them from getting into the engine.

22. Check the oil dipstick after filling the engine with the correct amount of oil. 

Normally oil containers have a guide on the side so that you can be sure that the correct amount of oil is poured into the engine. After pouring, put the car on an even level, wait five minutes, then check the dipstick.

You check the dipstick by pulling it out, wiping the oil, placing it back in the engine, making sure that it is pushed in, and then pulling it back out. The oil must reach the max fill line.


We have a lot of fluids running through our car, one important type is your engine oil which was covered in the last section. Other types of fluid include:

  • Transmission Fluid
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Engine Coolant
  • Brake Fluid
  • Rear Differential Fluid
  • Transfer Case Fluid
  • Washer Fluid

In this section, we will give our top tips for each of the fluid types.

Just like in the previous sections, your owner’s manual is your main source of information for all of the fluids in your car. Some would also contain the recommended mileage when you have to replace the fluids, so make sure to consult it at all times. 


23. Check if your transmission pan has a drain plug. 

If your vehicle has a drain plug then you do not have to remove the whole transmission to drain the fluid. Otherwise, you need to drain the fluid via a controlled leak.

24.Tighten the bolts in the transmission body for smoother shifts. 

Automobile Machine

Vibration makes the bolts of your transmission loosen, which leads to rough shifts between gears. If you’re going to open your transmission anyway, tighten some of the bolts so that you can have smoother shifts.

25. When replacing the transmission filter, lube the o-rings with transmission fluid. 

So that the o-rings don’t run dry and to increase sealing, we recommend lubing the o-rings with transmission fluid.

26. Use a plastic scraper to scrape off the rubber gasket on the transmission pan.

We do not recommend using metal tools to remove the rubber gasket on your pan. Instead, use a plastic scraper to prevent gouging the metal of the transmission pan.

27. If using rubber gaskets, use silicone grease to make the pan tacky. If using a paper gasket or cork gasket, use a gasket adhesive. 

To make it easier for you to return the transmission pan under your car with the gasket, we recommend using silicone grease to make rubber gaskets stick. If you’re using paper gaskets or cork gaskets we recommend using gasket adhesive instead.


28. To find the power steering reservoir, find the cap with a steering wheel. 

The engine bay can be very daunting at first. To find the power steering reservoir, just look for a cap with a steering wheel.


29. When changing your engine coolant, make sure to let your vehicle cool down. 

Car Bumper

The cooling system is pressurized when hot. As a result of this when opening the cooling system that hot coolant might explode on you. 

So we recommend letting your vehicle and cooling system cool down before changing the coolant.

30. Turn on your car’s heating climate control when replacing the coolant. 

When you turn your car’s climate control to heat, you are forcing your cooling system to circulate and therefore it purges air in the system and lets coolant in.


31. Be very careful when handling brake fluid. 

Automobile Inner Machine

Brake fluid damages paint, so be careful when changing it. If you accidentally put brake fluid on your paint, immediately clean the spot with soapy water.

32. When flushing the brake fluid, start with the furthest wheel first. 

When you are flushing your brake fluid, start with the furthest wheel until the nearest. So this should be the rear passenger-side wheel first, then the rear driver-side wheel, the front passenger-side wheel, and lastly the front driver-side wheel. 

The reason for this is so that you could fully flush the brake lines and prevent air bubbles in the system.


33. Prepare a respirator when changing your rear differential fluid. 

This fluid is the nastiest smelling fluid in the car because of sulfur. So we recommend having a mask or respirator on to protect yourself.


34. When you are living in a very cold place, do not use water as your washer fluid. 

When you live in a very cold place and the water freezes up, we recommend having a dedicated washer fluid in your car. This would prevent the washer fluid from freezing up in the reservoir and destroying your reservoir, pump, and sensor.


35. Repolish lights by wet sanding, clear coating, and then wax to protect. 

Car Rear

The 3M Kits, baking soda, toothpaste, vinegar, or bug spray method works in a pinch if you need to polish your lights. However, this is a temporary fix. 

This would usually last three to six months.

We recommend polishing your lights by wet sanding and then waxing. If your lights are easy to take off, we suggest taking them off so that you can easily protect the paint of your car from mistakenly sanding it too. 

If it is hard to take it off though, leave it on but protect the paint with garbage bags and painter’s paint.

If your lights are very yellowish, use 400 grit sandpaper, if not start with 600 grit and then 2000 grit sandpaper for finishing. Thoroughly wet your sandpaper and lights when sanding, we recommend using a spray bottle for this as water acts like a lubricant during wet sanding.

During the first few passes of the sandpaper, use swirling movements, then horizontal movements during the final passes per grit. What this would do is have a surface that the clear coat can hold onto.

After going through the 2000 grit sandpaper, apply alcohol to remove the oils and fingerprints on your lights. Then use two to three coats of clear coat (with 5 minutes of drying in between) and then wait a day for drying. 

You will find that your lights after a day will be hazy, this is normal. Sand it with 2000 or 3000-grit sandpaper, and then put car wax on your lights to protect it. Lastly, buff the car wax with a microfiber cloth.


36. Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber towel to clean your windshield and wiper. 

Car Windshield

Glass cleaner and microfiber towel make your windshield squeaky clean and remove the dirt and bugs on them. Wax your windshield so that water would bead up and easily flow down your windshield.

Furthermore, using the same technique, clean your windshield wiper as it would be filled with dirt. You won’t want it to damage the work that you’ve done on your windshield.


37. When changing the front brakes, turn the steering wheel so that you’ll have more space. 

Changing the front brakes is easier because you have the opportunity to turn your steering wheel to provide ample space to change your brake rotors and calipers. To not have your brake lines in tension, use a rope or bungee cord to prop your caliper up.

38. Use brake clean to remove oil on your new brake rotor. 

Manufacturers sometimes put a thin film of oil on your brake rotor, so we recommend cleaning it off by using brake clean.


Car Getting Cleaned

39. Do not immediately touch the car when washing, use a pressure washer first. 

We recommend washing your car with a pressure washer first before touching the car. This would ensure that the built-up dirt and debris in your paint would be lifted off, thus lessening the risk of you damaging your paint.

Use a wide-angle pressure washer and make sure to leave a bit of distance between your nozzle and the paint so that you won’t damage your paint.

40. Wash from top to bottom. 

Car Getting Cleaned 2

Because gravity makes everything go towards the bottom, we recommend washing the top first so that you won’t waste your time cleaning spots again and again because dirt flows down your car.

41. Use two buckets when cleaning your car. 

The first bucket would be designated to be the soap bucket. This would be the bucket which your clean microfiber cloths would be soaped into.

The second bucket would be designated to be the rinse bucket. This would be where your dirty microfiber cloths would be rinsed. An additional tip would be to use a grit guard to separate water and dirt.

42. Do not forget to clean your gas cap door and your door jams! 

Car Getting Soap-ed

Two of the most overlooked spots are the gas cap door and door jams. Make sure to clean these spots as well!

43. Use clay bar on your paint

A clay bar is a product that would lift off the microscopic dirt and debris from your paint. This would ensure a sparkly clean finish after you wax your car. Make sure to not put too much pressure on this as this can also leave swirl marks on your car.

44. How to make sure you’re done with your clay bar? It’s easy! When you can easily glide your clay bar on your paint, you’re done! 

If there are rough spots, try to focus on those spots as this means that there is a lot of dirt in that spot.

45. When drying, do not use squeegees. 

A lot of people still use squeegees as a means to dry their vehicles. This would increase your chances of nicking the paint off your car. 

Furthermore, this would only push water off the surface of your car.

46. We recommend having a drying microfiber towel for your car. 

Car Drying

This is to absorb all of the water off the paint of your car so you can be ready with waxing.

47. Go to a trusted mechanic for regular check ups. 

Mechanic Regular Check up

Some of the tips we listed here can be done at home but other car care tasks may require trained technicians. So make sure to take your car to a trusted and verified mechanic with a proven track record. 

For instance, when the check engine light is on, you might need a trained technician to diagnose the problem. A repair shop will also be able to inspect and replace some core components of your car. 

Regular tune-ups will help make sure that your car is in tip-top shape at all times. 

48. Even when going to a mechanic, follow the maintenance schedule indicated in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. 

Make sure to check your owner’s manual for the section on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This will instruct you on how often you should get your oil changed, rotate the tires, and replace fluids and parts.

49. Review your car insurance regularly. 

It’s a good practice to regularly check your current car insurance policy. This will help ensure that your coverage, deductibles, and limits are suitable for your situation. 

50. Don’t neglect the inside of your car! 

Keeping the car’s interior spotless can reduce stress and make driving a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience. Plus, you don’t know when you’ll have passengers so it/s best to be prepared. 

The good thing is that a lot of mechanics offer car interior cleaning as well. So you can avail of this service. 


That concludes our tips on car maintenance. We hope we were able to help you navigate your way through taking care of your car. 

Drive safe!