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Nationwide Vehicle Contracts takes you through a beginner's guide to car maintenance and how to keep your vehicle running smoothly with step-by-step instructions

As a car owner, it's important to take care of your vehicle to ensure it runs smoothly and lasts for years to come. Proper car maintenance not only keeps your car running smoothly but also saves you money on costly repairs in the long run. Here's a beginner's guide to car maintenance and how to keep your vehicle running smoothly:

Check Your Owner's Manual

The first step in car maintenance is to read your car's owner's manual. The manual will provide you with important information about your car's maintenance schedule, recommended fluids, and tire pressure. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule to keep your car in good condition.

Check and change your oil regularly


The oil in your car lubricates the engine's moving parts and keeps them from grinding against each other. It's important to check the oil level regularly and change it as recommended by the car's manufacturer. Neglecting to change the oil can lead to engine damage and reduce your car's performance.

Keep your tires inflated


Check your tire pressure regularly and keep them properly inflated. This not only ensures better gas mileage but also prolongs the life of your tires. You can find the recommended tire pressure in your car's owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's door.

Check your brakes


Brakes are a crucial safety feature of your car. Get your brakes inspected regularly and replace brake pads as needed. If you notice any unusual noises or vibrations while braking, get your car checked by a mechanic immediately.

Maintain your battery


Keep your car battery clean and free of corrosion. Check the battery terminals for any signs of damage or wear and replace them if needed. A dead battery is a common cause of car breakdowns, so it's essential to keep it in good condition.

Replace air filters


The air filter in your car prevents dust and debris from entering the engine. Replace your air filter as recommended by your car's manufacturer. A dirty air filter reduces your car's performance and can lead to engine damage.

Check your fluids


Your car has several fluids that need to be checked and replaced regularly, such as brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant. Check your car's owner's manual for the recommended maintenance schedule for each fluid.

Keep your car clean


Regularly washing and waxing your car not only makes it look good but also protects it from rust and corrosion. It's also important to clean the inside of your car to prevent dirt and grime build-up.

Car maintenance is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and prolong its lifespan. Regularly checking and changing your oil, keeping your tires inflated, maintaining your brakes and battery, replacing air filters, checking your fluids, and keeping your car clean are all important steps in maintaining your car's performance and safety. With these simple tips, you can keep your car in top condition and enjoy a smoother and more reliable ride.

Here are step-by-step instructions for some of the key maintenance tasks mentioned in the blog

Check and change your oil regularly:

  1. Park your car on level ground and turn off the engine.
  2. Locate the oil dipstick under the hood and remove it.
  3. Wipe the dipstick clean with a rag or paper towel.
  4. Reinsert the dipstick fully and then remove it again to check the oil level. The oil level should be between the minimum and maximum marks on the dipstick. If the level is low, add the recommended type of oil for your car.
  5. If the oil is dirty or has a burnt smell, it's time to change it. Consult your car's owner's manual for the recommended oil change interval and procedure.
  6. Drain the old oil and replace the oil filter if needed.
  7. Add the recommended amount of new oil and check the oil level with the dipstick again.

Keep your tires inflated:

  1. Find the recommended tire pressure for your car in the owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's door.
  2. Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure of each tire, including the spare tire if you have one.
  3. If the pressure is too low, use an air compressor to fill the tire to the recommended pressure.
  4. Check the pressure again after filling the tire to ensure it's at the correct level.

Replace air filters:

  1. Locate the air filter under the hood of your car. Refer to your car's owner's manual for its location.
  2. Remove the air filter cover or housing and take out the old air filter.
  3. Inspect the old air filter for dirt and debris. If it's dirty, it's time to replace it.
  4. Insert the new air filter into the housing, making sure it's properly seated.
  5. Reattach the air filter cover or housing.

Check your fluids:

  1. Consult your car's owner's manual for the recommended maintenance schedule for each fluid.
  2. Park your car on level ground and turn off the engine.
  3. Locate the fluid reservoir for each fluid and check the level. Most reservoirs have markings that indicate the correct level.
  4. If the fluid level is low, add the recommended type of fluid until it reaches the correct level.
  5. Inspect the fluid for colour and consistency. If it's dirty or contaminated, it's time to replace it.


These step-by-step instructions should help you understand how to perform these maintenance tasks on your own. However, if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, it's always best to take your car to a trusted mechanic.


For more information, why not check out our Caring for Your Lease Vehicle guides? We produce a range of weekly blogs on various topics, which can be found in the blog section of our website.

Nationwide Vehicle Contracts are one of the UK's leading car leasing brokers and offer a range of leasing deals to suit every need. To find out more, check out our comprehensive car leasing guides or call one of our experts on 0345 811 9595.

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