Introduction: How to Perform a Vehicle Maintenance Service
Many people automatically think anything that deals with their vehicle maintenance needs to be dealt with by a professional. These instructions will prove otherwise. Approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles a vehicle should be serviced. To some people this just means changing the oil, but what a vehicle really needs is an overall maintenance. Here are the general steps that should be taken for a vehicle maintenance service.
Basic Services Performed:
1. Oil Change (Steps 3-6)
2. Tire Rotation (Steps 7-9)
3. Tire Pressure (Step10)
4. Check Fluid Levels (Step 11)
Step 1: Purchase Oil and Filter
Photo courtesy of acdelco.com
Look in your vehicle's manual to determine what type of oil and how much to purchase. Purchase the oil at your local auto parts store. While there, you can also ask them what type of oil filter you need for your vehicle.
Step 2: Identify Tools and Materials
Locate all the tools and materials you'll need for the maintenance service and have them handy so you don't have to search for them while working. You'll need the following tools:
1. Car jack
3. Basic wrench
4. Screw driver
5. Pressure gauge
6. Air nozzle
7. Filter wrench
9. Air impact wrench
10. Oil Filter
13. Oil pan (no pictured)
14. Funnel (optional)
Step 3: Warm Up and Jack Up Vehicle
Materials Needed for Step: Car Jack
Start vehicle until engine temperature gauge rises about a quarter of the way. This will allow the oil to drain faster and to get a thick goop out that is bad for the engine.
Find a spot on the frame of the vehicle preferably to jack up the vehicle high enough for you to fit under it while on the creeper.
Step 4: Drain Old Oil
Materials Needed for Step: Creeper, Wrench, Rags, Oil pan
Locate the oil plug. (Manual will describe its location)
Place pan under the plug to catch oil.
Remove oil plug with properly sized wrench.
Once oil has stopped draining, wipe surface clean and put oil plug back in.
Tighten oil plug securely.
Step 5: Change Oil Filter
Materials Needed for Step: Oil Filter Wrench, New Oil Filter, Rags, Oil Pan, Oil
Locate the oil filter which is usually close to the oil plug. (Manual will describe its location)
Unscrew old oil filter using filter wrench and rags.
Place old oil filter in oil pan with old drained oil.
Locate the o-ring on the new oil filter and lubricate it with some of the new oil.
Screw the new oil filter on hand-tight.
Step 6: Add New Oil
Materials Needed for Step:Oil and Funnel (optional)
Locate and remove the engine oil cap.
Pour in the predetermined amount of oil.
Replace engine oil cap.
Start and run vehicle for a few seconds to allow new oil to circulate through the engine.
Check to ensure oil level is correct via the dipstick.
The Oil Change portion of the service is now completed!
Step 7: Remove Tires
Materials Needed for Step: Car Jack, Air Impact Wrench, Socket
If vehicle is not still jacked up, jack up vehicle on one side enough so that both side tires are off the ground.
Use air impact wrench and socket to remove all lug nuts from both tires.
Lift off both tires and set aside.
Step 8: Check Breaks
Top Photo courtesy of off-roadweb.com
Materials Needed for Step: car jack
While the tires are off, look at break pad to make sure there is plenty of pad left.
Step 9: Rotate Tires and Put Back On
Materials Needed for Step: car jack, air impact wrench, socket
Rotate tires. Move front tire to back and back tire to front.
Place tires back on lugs.
Screw lug nuts back on.
Let vehicle off car jack.
Repeat steps 7 through 9 on opposite side.
Rotate tires and Check Break part of service are now completed.
Step 10: Check Tire Pressure
Materials Needed for Step: Tire pressure gauge, Air nozzle
Look on the tires to find the desired PSI the tires should be inflated to.
Use pressure gauge to check pressure in all four tires.
Use air nozzle to inflate if needed.
Step 11: Check Fluid Levels
Materials Needed for Step:none
This is a good time to check your anti-freeze and whipper blade fluid levels.
Both levels can be check under the hood and each should be indicated by text to picture on their caps.
Step 12: Update Records
Materials Needed for Step: paper (optional), pen (optional)
Some people just reset their mileage trip so they know when to perform their next maintenance service.
Another option is to record the service on paper. Things to include: