Some items to put on a checklist for preventative auto maintenance include check fluid levels, check and change the car's oil regularly, check battery, clean the contacts and replace engine's air filter. Car owners can handle most of these items themselves.
In many cases, the car's manual shows the location of the fluid locations and where to check them. If a fluid is low, the owner should add fluid or get it changed. Sometimes, a low fluid level can indicate a leak that needs immediate repairs.
One of the most important things for a healthy car engine is clean and constant flow of oil. Typically, the owner checks the oil with a dipstick close to the engine. The owner must wipe down the dipstick and check it a second time to get a clear measurement. Oil needs changing every three months or 5,000 miles.
Checking the battery and cleaning the contacts ensures that the car starts when needed. Corrosion on the contacts can keep the battery from working properly. Each battery is marked with a date and year of purchase to let car owners know when to replace it.
The engine's air filter is essential to a smooth running engine. If dirty air gets into an engine, it causes the motor to run hotter, and the gas mileage suffers.