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Top 5 Routine Vehicle Checks for Optimal Performance

Keeping your vehicle in top shape not only ensures its optimal performance but also extends its lifespan, offering you both peace of mind and potential savings on costly repairs.

In this article, we delve into the top five routine checks that every vehicle owner should perform, specifically focusing on the Australian driving environment.


The modern vehicle is a complex machine, built with an array of mechanical and electronic components all working together in harmony.

While every vehicle comes with its maintenance schedule, understanding and performing regular checks can significantly aid in preventing unexpected problems.

Understanding Your Vehicle's Basic Maintenance Needs

A well-maintained vehicle offers a smoother, more reliable drive. Knowing the essential routine checks and performing them regularly can significantly impact your vehicle's performance and longevity.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance ensures optimal fuel efficiency, extends your vehicle's lifespan, and reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns. It also helps in maintaining its resale value.

Understanding Your Vehicle's Manual

Every vehicle comes with a manual that provides vital information on its maintenance needs. This includes specific timelines for certain checks and replacements.

Understanding and following this manual can lead to optimal vehicle performance.

1. Regular Oil Changes

Oil changes are a crucial part of vehicle maintenance. They help to keep the engine well-lubricated and functioning smoothly.

The Importance of Regular Oil Changes

Engine oil provides lubrication to the moving parts of the engine, reducing friction and subsequent wear and tear. It also helps to keep the engine clean by absorbing dirt and other contaminants.

Choosing the Right Engine Oil for Your Vehicle

Choosing the correct oil for your vehicle is important. The vehicle's manual usually specifies the right type of oil. In Australia, considering the climatic conditions, you might need different oil types for different times of the year.

How Often Should You Change Your Oil

The frequency of oil changes depends on your vehicle type, the soil type, and how often you drive. A general rule of thumb is every 10,000 kilometres or every six months, whichever comes first.

However, check your manual for the manufacturer's advice.

2. Tyre Inspection and Maintenance

Tyres are your vehicle's sole contact with the road. Regular checks and maintenance can assure you of a safe and comfortable ride.

Understanding Tyre Treads

The tyre tread provides the grip necessary for safe driving. Australian law requires a minimum tread depth of 1.5mm across the breadth and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

Regularly checking your tyre treads can prevent accidents and avoid fines.

Checking Tyre Pressure

Correct tyre pressure ensures the vehicle's stability, optimal road grip, and fuel efficiency. It also reduces the risk of tyre blowouts. Check the pressure at least once a month and before long trips.

Wheel Alignment and Balancing

Wheel alignment and balancing reduce tyre wear, ensure smooth driving and improve fuel efficiency. Have them checked during your routine maintenance or if you notice unusual tyre wear or vehicle pulling to one side.

3. Brake System Check

The brake system is paramount to your vehicle's safety. Regular checks can prevent accidents and save lives.

Understanding Your Vehicle's Brake System

The brake system comprises various components, including brake pads, rotors, and fluid. These work together to slow down or stop your vehicle when needed.

Understanding how these components work can help in identifying potential problems.

Signs of Brake System Problems

Signs of brake system problems include a squeaking or grinding noise when braking, a pulsating brake pedal, a steering wheel shaking when braking, and the vehicle pulling to one side when braking.

If you notice any of these signs, seek professional help immediately.

Regular Brake Maintenance

Regular brake checks can prevent costly repairs and potential accidents. The frequency of these checks depends on your driving habits and the vehicle model, but a good practice is to have them inspected during every service.

4. Battery Check and Maintenance

The battery is the power source for all electrical components in your vehicle. Regular checks and maintenance can prevent sudden failures.

Understanding Your Vehicle's Battery

The battery provides the necessary power to start the engine and powers all electronic devices when the engine is off. In Australia, the average battery life is 3-5 years, but regular checks are still recommended.

Common Signs of Battery Problems

Signs of a weak or failing battery include difficulty starting the engine, dimming headlights and interior lights, and the check engine or battery light coming on. If you notice any of these signs, have your battery tested.

Battery Maintenance Tips

Keep the battery clean and free of corrosion. In addition, make sure the battery is securely mounted to prevent vibration which can lead to damage.

If your vehicle is not driven regularly, consider using a battery maintainer to keep it fully charged.

5. Regular Engine Coolant Checks

The engine coolant helps to keep the engine from overheating. Regular checks are vital, especially in Australia's hot summers.

The Importance of Engine Coolant

The engine coolant absorbs the heat from the engine and dispels it through the radiator. Regular coolant checks can prevent engine damage due to overheating.

Signs of Coolant System Issues

Signs of coolant system issues include a high reading on your temperature gauge, a low coolant level in the reservoir, and visible coolant leaks.

If you notice any of these signs, top up the coolant if necessary and seek professional help.

How Often Should You Check and Replace Your Coolant

You should check the coolant level at least once a month. As for replacing the coolant, refer to your vehicle's manual, but a general rule is every two years or 40,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.


Performing these routine vehicle checks regularly can ensure optimal vehicle performance, extend its lifespan, and enhance your safety on the road.

Why Regular Maintenance Matters

Regular maintenance matters because it helps to keep your vehicle in top condition, ensure safe and smooth driving, and can save you money by preventing costly repairs in the long run.

Understanding the Impact on Vehicle Lifespan and Performance

Maintaining your vehicle regularly can significantly extend its lifespan and maintain its performance. A well-maintained vehicle also offers better fuel efficiency, reducing your fuel costs.

Final Reminders for Australian Drivers

Australia's varying climates and terrains can present unique challenges to your vehicle.

Understanding these challenges and adapting your maintenance routine accordingly can keep your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently, wherever your journey takes you.

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