Safety First: Top 6 Car Maintenance Priorities

Safety should always be top of mind when taking care of your car. Whether you’ve owned the car for years or purchased a brand-new model, many important car maintenance priorities exist.

What car maintenance is most important? Checking tire pressure, changing engine oil and filter, testing battery charge, replacing wiper blades, inspecting belts and hoses, and brake inspections.

Each system plays an important role, so it’s imperative to have them all functioning optimally.

car maintenance priorities

This is why I’m listing out, in detail, the top car maintenance priorities that all owners need to know about and practice.

This article will provide invaluable insight into keeping you and your family safe in the car on the road.

Checking Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Prevent Dangerous Blowouts and Loss of Traction

Checking tire pressure and tread depth routinely can save you from dangerous situations wherever you’re driving.

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It’s important to keep tires properly inflated to ensure they have the right amount of contact with the road and can handle the weight of your vehicle.

On average, 32 psi (pounds per square inch) to 35 psi is the correct tire pressure when a tire is cold, reports

car maintenance priorities

Tire pressure is best checked when cold because as tires roll along the road, friction between them and the pavement generates heat. This increases both the temperature and the air pressure inside the tire.

For the most precise and consistent reading, ensure the vehicle has been sitting overnight or parked for at least a few hours.

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In addition, keeping an eye on tire tread depth will improve a vehicle’s ability to handle adverse conditions.

In the United States, tire tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch. New car tires typically come with 10/32” or 11/32” tread depths, states Bridgestone Tire.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends replacing tires when they reach 2/32” tread remaining. Many states legally require tires to be replaced at this depth.

These simple car maintenance priorities take only a few minutes and can make a big difference in driving safety.

Don’t let a preventable blowout or accident put you at risk; check tire pressure and tread depth regularly.

Changing Engine Oil and Filter Regularly

Prolong Your Car’s Life and Maximize Performance

As a responsible owner, paying attention to car maintenance priorities to the best of your ability is vital. One of the surefire ways to do so is by regularly changing engine oil and filter.

This helps prolong your car’s life and maximizes its performance. Routinely swapping out dirty oil and filters ensures that the engine runs efficiently.

Dirty oil and clogged filters can cause significant problems. Decreased fuel efficiency and even engine damage are only the beginning.

car maintenance priorities

By scheduling routine car maintenance priorities, you save on unexpected repairs and help the engine run at its peak. Your buddy will thank you for the extra TLC.

You’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re taking care of your investment. So don’t wait; make sure you’re changing out that dirty oil and filter regularly.

Plus, a well-maintained engine can also boost a car’s resale value, says AAMCO. Taking care of the engine isn’t just good for the here and now; it will be a benefit down the road.

Potential buyers want to know they’re investing in a car that runs painlessly. A well-maintained engine is a great way to show them just that. Think of it as money spent today that pays off tomorrow.

CIC PRO TIP: “It’s the golden rule. Take care of your car, and your car will take care of you.”

Testing Electrical Battery Charge

Ensure Proper Starting Power and Reduce the Risk of Breakdown

Have you ever been in the frustrating situation of a car breakdown due to a dead battery? It’s a headache, especially when you need to be somewhere important.

Remember a few simple car maintenance priorities to avoid battery-related breakdowns.

It’s essential to test an electrical battery charge often. Ensuring that the battery has sufficient charge can reduce the risk of being stranded on the side of the road.

car maintenance priorities

NAPA AutoCare recommends testing your car’s battery at least once a year, especially if it’s over three years old.

During a battery test, technicians will use specialized equipment to measure the voltage and overall health of the battery. If the battery is weak or failing, they recommend replacing it before it leaves you stranded.

Having the right starting power is crucial, and a professional mechanic can help you determine if your battery needs to be replaced or recharged.

Being proactive about an electrical battery charge can ensure smooth starting experiences and avoid headaches.

Car Maintenance Priorities At A Glance

Car Maintenance Task Importance Role
Checking Tire Pressure Very Important Ensures proper traction, fuel efficiency, and handling by maintaining correct tire pressure.
Changing Engine Oil and Filter Extremely Important Lubricates and cools the engine, prevents friction, and removes contaminants to prolong engine life.
Testing Battery Charge Important Provides electrical power for starting the car and running electronics; prevents breakdowns.
Replacing Wiper Blades Important Ensures clear visibility during rain or snow, contributing to safe driving conditions.
Inspecting Belts and Hoses Important Prevents breakdowns by checking and replacing worn belts and hoses that drive essential systems.
Brake Inspections Very Important Ensures reliable stopping power, critical for safety; prevents accidents due to brake failure.

Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades

Improve Visibility and Keep Safe in Inclement Weather

These car maintenance priorities are often overlooked, but they can significantly impact visibility and overall safety on the road.

Wiper blades devote their entire service life to dealing with rain, snow, sleet, road debris, bugs, and bird droppings. Now that’s a lot of crap, no pun intended.

These harsh elements make aging inevitable and make regular replacement a priority. A general rule is to change wiper blades every six months.

car maintenance priorities

If you notice streaks or missed spots on the windshield during rain or snow, it’s time to replace the windshield wiper blades.

While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, don’t waste your money. Investing in a high-quality brand name that will last longer is essential.

A better-performing blade can also prevent scratches or damage to the windshield. Unpleasant high-pitched noises shouldn’t accompany wiper blade operation, suggests Trico Products.

Remember also to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation to ensure proper fit and function.

With new blades in place, you’ll enjoy a clear view even in the worst weather conditions. You’ll have more confidence behind the steering wheel as well.

Inspecting Drive Belts and Cooling System Hoses

Avoid Damage to Critical Engine Components

Have you ever experienced engine trouble while driving? One common cause of such issues is damaged drive belts and cooling system hoses.

Inspecting belts and hoses is a necessary part of the car maintenance priorities theme. These components keep the engine running correctly, so it is essential to ensure they’re in good condition.

Almost all late-model car engines built today have a single multi-grooved serpentine belt. It drives the alternator, water pump, power-steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor and became popular in the 1980s.

car maintenance priorities

Older vehicles typically are equipped with separate V-belts that drive each engine accessory. Consumer Reports says chances of a V-belt failure rise dramatically after four years or 36,000 miles. The critical point for a serpentine belt is 50,000 miles.

Any belt should be changed when it shows signs of excessive wear. But many new composite belts don’t show signs of wear until the failure occurs.

The most damaging cause of hose failure, ECD (electrochemical degradation), isn’t easy to detect. According to engineers for the Gates Corporation, a parts maker, ECD attacks hoses from the inside, leading to tiny cracks.

car maintenance priorities

Gates adds that acids and contaminants in the broken-down coolant can weaken the yarn material that reinforces the hose. Eventually, pinholes can develop, or the weakened hose may rupture from heat, pressure, or constant flexing.

Additionally, checking for damage and wear can prevent more significant problems and potentially expensive repairs.

Performing Regular Brake Maintenance

Maintain Stopping Power When It Counts Most

Getting from point A to point B safely and on time is paramount when driving.

Properly maintaining a car’s brake system is crucial to ensuring that the car can stop when needed. That’s where routine brake inspections come into play.

The brake pads/shoes and rotors/drums are the point of contact between the braking system and the car’s tires on the road.

car maintenance priorities

These parts deteriorate more quickly than other components and require frequent car maintenance priorities, suggests Action Gator Tire.

Friction between the tires and the brakes causes heat, which wears down the brake pad/shoe. Inspecting the quality and depth of the pads/shoes is essential to ensure sufficient resistance.

Be aware of these two following things. You need to depress the brake pedal further or smell a burning odor. The distance it takes to stop the car increases drastically. Then, it may be time for a brake inspection and servicing.

Inspecting and servicing the brakes regularly lets you maintain the stopping power you need when it counts most.

CIC says, “Car maintenance priorities are cheap insurance in keeping your vehicle running safely for as long as possible.”

Inspecting parts that don’t get used every day is also vital. Taking good care of your car requires additional effort over the long haul to keep it going strong.

Maintaining your car is an essential part of being a responsible car owner. Giving your vehicle the attention it deserves will prolong its life and save money in the long run.

So, don’t neglect any car maintenance priorities. Spend the time required to keep it in tip-top shape, and you’ll enjoy a safe and reliable ride for years.

Taking these preventative measures almost guarantees fewer mechanical breakdowns along the way. Your ride won’t last forever without addressing car maintenance priorities, but it may get close with proper care!

What are the most essential car maintenance priorities that should never be neglected?

Regularly changing the engine oil and oil filter, checking brake pads/shoes, and replacing them when needed. Checking tire pressure and tread depth. And lastly, don’t neglect the electrical battery; keep it fully charged.

You’ll own a more reliable and safer vehicle for years by keeping up with these essential car maintenance priorities.

Which car maintenance priorities are considered essential regarding safety and reliability?

Regularly scheduled oil changes are essential to ensure the engine stays adequately lubricated. Checking and replacing a vehicle’s brakes, tires, and wiper blades will also help prevent accidents and provide reliable performance.

Identifying these car maintenance priorities and addressing potential issues will help keep you and your loved ones safe.

What critical car maintenance priorities have the most significant impact on preventing major breakdowns?

One key area to focus on is regularly changing the engine’s oil and oil filter. Dirty oil will cause severe damage to an engine over time, guaranteed.

Another one of the car maintenance priorities to keep in mind is the brake system. Worn brake pads/shoes will likely lead to serious safety issues.

Finally, don’t forget about the tires. Properly inflated and cared-for tires will prevent many unnecessary situations that never need to happen in the first place.


Meet Steven, a passionate car enthusiast who has been living and breathing cars for over 50 years dating back to a toddler! With an abundance of mechanical experience under his belt, he is an expert in all things automotive. Steven studied basic auto mechanics and vocational auto mechanics for four years at J. Sterling Morton East High School (1973-1977). He has hands-on experience as an auto detailer, auto service department writer, auto parts department assistant, auto interior upholsterer, auto mechanic, and auto assistant service manager (1977-1984). He now serves as the Chief Writer for Car Info Club and loves to share his enthusiasm and knowledge with others. Steven is highly knowledgeable, always friendly, and absolutely loves talking about cars.

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