1. Check engine oil level
Engine oil is critical to the proper operation of a vehicle's engine. Oil should be checked regularly to ensure that it is at the correct level, free from contaminants, and suitable for the conditions in which the vehicle is operating. To check the oil level, start by warming up the engine and ensuring that it is parked on a level surface. Locate the dipstick, remove it and wipe off any oil that has built up on it. Re-insert the dipstick, wait for a few seconds, then remove it again and check the oil level against the markings on the dipstick. If the oil is low, top up to the correct level with fresh oil.
2. Check coolant levels
The coolant system helps keep a vehicle's engine from overheating by transferring heat from within the engine out of its cooling system. To check coolant levels, start by locating the coolant tank reservoir and removing its cap. Next, inspect the liquid inside for any discoloration or debris which may indicate that there is an issue with the system. If the coolant level appears to be low, top up with a suitable premixed coolant/water solution.
3. Inspect air filter and fuel lines
A vehicle's air filter helps keep dirt and other debris from entering the engine. It should be inspected regularly for any blockages or damage that may reduce its efficiency. To inspect an air filter, start by removing the cover of the air filter housing and inspecting the contents inside. The fuel lines are also critical and should be checked for any kinks, cracks or loose connections which could cause a leak or decrease performance.
4. Test the starter, alternator, battery and electrical system
The starter is responsible for starting a vehicle's engine when the key is turned. The alternator helps keep the battery charged and powers electrical components when the engine is running. To test these components, first check whether the starter and alternator are functioning properly by turning on the ignition switch and ensuring that they both start up without issue. Next, use a multimeter to check the voltage of the battery, which should be around 12 volts with all accessories off and 13-14 volts when accessories are running. Finally, make sure that all electrical components such as lights, turn signals and horn are working correctly.
5. Check brake linings/pads for wear or damage
Brake linings or pads should be checked regularly for any signs of excessive wear or damage which could lead to decreased braking performance. To check, use a flashlight to inspect the surface of the brake pad for any signs of cracking or discoloration, and look for any pieces of material which could be blocking the brakes from working correctly. If any issues are found, they should be addressed immediately.
6. Inspect power steering fluid levels
Power steering fluid helps keep a vehicle's steering system running smoothly by reducing friction in its moving parts. To check the levels of power steering fluid, first locate the reservoir on the engine bay and remove its lid. Next, inspect the liquid inside for any visible contaminants or discoloration which may indicate that there is an issue with the system. Finally, top up to the correct level with fresh power steering fluid if necessary.
7. Examine all belts for cracks/tears
Belts are critical components of a vehicle’s engine and should be checked regularly for any signs of wear or damage. To check the belts, visually inspect them for any cracks or tears, and listen to see if there is any squealing which could indicate that they are worn out. Belts that appear to be excessively worn should be replaced immediately with new ones.
8. Inspect hoses for cracking, leaks or loose clamps
Hoses are responsible for carrying coolant, fuel and other fluids throughout a vehicle's engine. To check hoses for any signs of wear or damage, first look for any cracking or leaking along their surface. Next, inspect the hose clamps to ensure that they are securely attached and not loose. If any issues are found, replace the hoses with new ones as soon as possible.
9. Check tires for wear and proper inflation pressure
Tires are essential components of any vehicle and should be checked regularly for signs of excessive wear or incorrect inflation pressure. To inspect tires, use a tire gauge to ensure that the pressure is within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Next, inspect the tread for any signs of uneven wear which may indicate an alignment problem. Finally, visually check all four tires for any signs of cracking or bulging which could be dangerous if left unchecked.
10. Perform a visual inspection of exhaust system components
Finally, it's important to perform a visual inspection of the exhaust system components to ensure that they are in good condition. This includes looking for any signs of rust or corrosion, and checking for any leaks which could cause decreased performance or dangerous fumes. Additionally, check for any loose clamps or hangers which may need tightening.