Basic DIY Guide to Car Maintenance

Driving a car brings lots of convenience to the user, and beyond the selection and buying of a car, we also have to take care of the car and maintain it in good condition so that it will continue to serve us well for at least the next 5 to 10 years.

Today, I will be sharing with you the Basic DIY Guide to Car Maintenance and how you can also do it yourself and save the time and cost spent going to car mechanics!!


The first thing to do is to look under the car hood. It looks like a maze, isn’t it? Essentially lying underneath that is the fuel system, ignition system, and the cooling system.

We are not going into details on how all these system works. Instead, we will look at how we can perform the simple weekly check on the car and what are the items to look out for when doing so.

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE – Items to look out for

1) Fluids

– Engine Oil fluids

– Coolant fluids

– Windshield fluids

– Washer fluids

– Brake fluids

– Power steering fluids

2) Car tire pressure

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE (1a) – Engine Oil Fluids

TIP: Always check the oil level when the engine has been turned off for an extended period to avoid hot oil from scalding yourself.

Purpose of Engine Oil fluids:

To lubricate the car engine parts and to prevent wear out.

Steps to follow:

1. Wipe the engine oil dipstick clean which is provided by the manufacturer

2. Insert the dipstick into engine, then pull up and check the level. If the top edge of the oil is above the ADD mark, the oil level is acceptable, else you need to add oil immediately. Typically amount required is one quart of oil.

3. To add oil, open the engine oil cap, place a funnel over the opening, and slowly pour the oil into it.

4. Wait for a few minutes and then recheck the oil level to ensure that the oil level is now within the “ADD” and “FULL” marks. Be careful not to add oil beyond the full mark as it will reduce the oil’s lubrication qualities and prove less effective.

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE (1b) – Coolant Fluids

Purpose of Coolant Fluids:

Circulates throughout car engine to remove excess heat. Comprises of a mixture of antifreeze fluid and water, which collects the heat and and brings it to the radiator where air flow cools the liquid before returning back to cool the engine.

Steps to follow:

1) Ensure both engine and radiator are cooled down before checking coolant level.

2) Locate the radiator, and the corresponding coolant reserve tank which is holding the top layer of coolant from the radiator. Check and ensure that the coolant level is within the lowest and maximum levels.

3) When the need to top-up arises, turn the radiator cap counterclockwise by 1 quarter turn to release any built-up pressure remaining in the cooling system, before turning all the way to open the cap.

4) Add coolant as required until level is within the min and max marks.

5) Replace cap and do a basic clean up.

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE (1c) – Windshield Fluids

Purpose of Windshield fluids:

To clean the wind screen as required.

Steps to follow:

1) Locate the windshield washer fluid reservoir. It appears like a white plastic milk jug or jar and hold a small quantity of the windshield fluids.

2) In most cases, you can do a visual inspection of the fluid level, and as long as it is an inch or two below the top, it is considered full, and do not require topping up.

3) If it is too low, simply unscrew the cap and top it up with commercial windshield washer fluid or create your very own diy windshield fluid by adding few drops of dish washing detergent to water.

4) Replace cap and do a basic clean up.

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE (1d) – Brake Fluids

Purpose of brake fluids:

Supports the hydraulic systems which enable the brake systems to function properly.

Steps to follow:

1) Locate the master brake cylinder

2) Clean the top of the reservoir before removing the cover with a wrench

3) Check and ensure that the brake fluid is up to the “FULL” mark. Do not compromise as this is a critical factor in car safety.

4) Top up with the brake fluid through a funnel carefully until the level is about one quarter inch below the top.


Brake fluids have different grades, so it is advisable to check the owner manuals for specific requirements.

Don’t let the brake fluid touch on the car paint, you will be in for a nasty surprise.

5) Replace and tighten the cap when done.

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE (1e) – Power Steering Fluids

Purpose of Power Steering Fluids:

Required for cars enabled with power steering capability, without which it is very difficult to turn the steering wheel.

Steps to follow:

1) Locate the power steering reservoir

2) Remove the cap of the reservoir and check the current fluid level.

TIP: Perform the check only when the engine is cool, else the readings will be inaccurate since the fluid expands when hot.

3) Top up the power steering fluid as specified in the car owner manuals, and be careful not to overfill it.

4) Replace and tighten the cap when done.

DIY CAR MAINTENANCE (2) – Car Tyre Pressure Check

Purpose of Tire Pressure Check:

Regular pressure checks will help to maximize the lifespan of the tires since the wrong pressures can cause over contact with the roads reducing the lifespan, or under contact with the road causing safety issues. Under-inflated tires will also reduce fuel economy resulting in higher costs unknowingly.

Steps to follow:

1) Find out the recommended tire pressures required from the car manuals, measured in psi.

2) For ease of checking, go to any gas station, and insert their tire pressure gauge into your car tire valve stem. Push it until you hear a rush of air, and then release it. Observe the pressure reading immediately on the tire gauge machine.

3) If air pressure is not enough, add air with the air line, and double check pressure when done. If air pressure is too high, release a bit of air with the tire gauge and double check before releasing more air.

4) Replace the valve stem cap when done.

5) Repeat for all tires.

TIP: It is good to also perform a quick check on the tire for any wear and tear and replace early for better car safety.


To summarize, through better understanding on the essential items to look out for during your routine car maintenance, and steps to follow during maintenance, you are now able to keep your car in tiptop performance at all times, and maximize the enjoyment of the car rides for yourself and your family.

Originally Written Article @

The author Jimmy Lee is involved in article writing, publishing, and website design on a freelance basis amid a daytime job as an electrical engineer. His favorite works can be found at and []

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