Check the Engine Oil
At least once a month, check the oil level with a cold car parked on level ground—or per the owner's manual.
Assess the Air Filter
Remove the air-filter element and hold it up to a strong light. If you don't see light shining through, replace it.
Inspect Car Belts and Hoses
With a cool engine, look for signs of wear, stress, and cracks among the hoses and belts. Feel for usually soft spots on hoses.
Check Tire Air Pressure
Once a month and before any extended road trips, use an accurate tire-pressure gauge to check the inflation pressure in each tire, including the spare.
Wash the Car
Wash the body with a car-specific soap and, if necessary, hose out the fender wells and undercarriage to remove dirt and road salt.
Car wax offers a great way to protect your car from scratches and preserve the shine, but even the best waxes last just a few weeks.
Find a Shop for Your Brand of Car
Many garages specialize in certain makes. Those that focus on your type are more likely to have the latest training and equipment to fix your vehicle.
Check for Certification
Your mechanic and shop should be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE.