The average lifespan of a standard car is around 200,000 miles or 12 years, but you can be above that average and ensure your vehicle remains roadworthy and in good condition by undertaking regular maintenance tasks which are often overlooked. Just leaving your car on the sidewalk can lead to niggling issues that become bigger problems over time. Here are seven simple jobs can do to combat deterioration.

driving car

Check tire pressure – 10 minutes

Changing a flat tire is a task that most drivers used to undertake themselves, but around 60% of Americans now say they wouldn’t be able to do it. You can reduce the chances of this happening by conducting regular tire pressure checks. Tires become flatter over time, especially when cars are left in colder environments for long periods. The time to take action is when flat spots first appear. GSF Car Parts’ Mark Barclay says tires should be pumped to the manufacturer-recommended PSI, which you will find in your vehicle handbook.

If you are not using your car for extended periods, it might be a good idea to lift the car off the ground slightly in a garage or remember to give it a quick spin around the block now and then. You should also look for cracks, cuts and other visual forms of damage, which can be fixed if you act quickly enough. Manual checks and a pressure monitoring system can keep your tires in top condition for longer.

Check battery, clean terminals – 15 minutes

A dead battery is another major problem, but you can reduce the effects of drain over time by using it regularly and cleaning the terminals, which can become corroded and reduce the effectiveness of the unit. All you need is a car tool kit to clean the terminals and ensure the connections can transfer electricity without issues. Batteries can also deteriorate if you only use your vehicle for only short journeys.

“For motorists who’ll be off the road a while, a trickle charger is a worthwhile investment, using low voltage to keep a battery at optimum charge for extended periods,” MotorEasy’s Duncan McClure Fisher advises. To keep your battery going for longer, you can also run the car for 15 minutes in a stationary position or around the block. Always remember to turn your car off completely and park it in a cool environment too, as extreme temperatures can be damaging.

Check and replace lights – 5 minutes

Lightbulbs are one of the easiest components in a car to replace. If you venture out frequently at night or are planning a long road trip, you should check your brake lights, headlights, sidelights and fog lights to make sure one of them hasn’t blown, as driving with them in this state is illegal. All you need to replace them is a screwdriver and a new bulb in most cases. The process should be simple, but it can differ depending on the model of car.

driving car

Changing wiper blades – 3 minutes

Like tires, wiper blades are regularly exposed to the elements and will wear out after years or even months of wiping heavy snow or rain. You don’t usually need any tools for this job as old blades can be removed, and new ones snapped in by hand.

Fix paintwork chips and scratches – 15 minutes

Patrick James of Trico Group offers expert advice on car maintenance which includes a quick overview on how to fix car paint scratches. Any damage to the exterior of a vehicle can reduce its value and make it look older than it is, so smoothing over blemishes is advisable. Lighter scratches can be repaired by using polish and a fine cloth, but deeper scratches might need a more comprehensive solution such as fluids and filler. For complex jobs, remember to use protective gloves and safety glasses.

Checking oil levels and coolant – 10 minutes

Oil is another component that should be checked regularly to ensure the smooth running of a vehicle. The additives and chemicals in motor oil can be damaging when left over time, while low levels of oil can mean other parts are not lubricated correctly. Replacing or topping up oil levels and allowing it to circulate by switching on the ignition is the best course of action. The same is true for washer fluid and coolants, which can freeze during the winter.

Replace air filter – 15 minutes

The air filter in your car needs to be clean and at an optimal level to provide air to your engine. There can be problems if filters are worn and dirty and issues can manifest with weaker acceleration and performance problems. Fortunately, replacing an air filter is quite straightforward, and is something you should do every 30,000 miles. You can find the location of the air filter using the vehicle manual and replacing it will take only a few minutes.

Running through this maintenance checklist won’t make your car last forever, but it will give it the best chance of running optimally for as long as possible.

Published by HOLR Magazine.