How to Perform a Comprehensive Automotive Maintenance and Repair Inspection

Learn how to perform an automotive maintenance & repair inspection with this comprehensive guide. Check drive belts & hoses for cracks & leaks & inspect tires & other components.

Checking the condition of your vehicle's engine components is an important part of automotive maintenance and repair. A comprehensive inspection should include a detailed examination of the drive belts, hoses, tires, and other components. Professional mechanics agree that the best way to begin any vehicle diagnosis is to complete a thorough inspection. Whether it's a physical inspection of the engine, a test drive, or the search for OBD-II fault codes, the process that involves a diagnostic inspection of the engine is detailed and, generally, its objective is to find the source of a specific symptom.

However, a general engine inspection is much more comprehensive and aims to examine the general condition of an engine, whether it has symptoms or not. The purpose of a general engine inspection is to check the wear and tear of critical components so that the technician knows which elements should be replaced during the tune-up. When inspecting your vehicle's drive belts, look for signs of cracks, glass or damage, and make sure they have the proper tension. Check all hoses for cracks and leaks. Because well-maintained tires are critical to safe and fuel-efficient driving, make it a habit to visually inspect your tires frequently.

Check your tire pressure every month and before taking long trips or carrying additional loads. A pressure gauge will be needed to check tire pressure. Also, during the colder months, keep in mind that tire pressure drops one pound for every 10 degrees of temperature drop. The owner's manual will tell you how much air pressure your tire needs.

You can check the tread depth with the simple penny method. It will save you time, money, and frustration if you're proactive about service and repairs by having a technician inspect the vehicle before problems arise. During this type of inspection, 75 specific points on the vehicle are thoroughly examined, including mechanical components, fluids, belts and hoses, which must work together for the engine to operate smoothly and efficiently. In addition to that, you'll be able to inform customers about problems with their cars and get their permission to perform additional repairs via text message. Every month, or every few times you refuel and especially before long road trips, it's a good idea to get under the hood of the car and check the oil and coolant levels while the engine is cold. Once a month, turn on your headlights when you're parked in front of a flat surface and check that both headlights work properly and are well positioned.

The engine air filter regulates the air that enters the engine and helps prevent dirt and particles from entering. To maximize the life and performance of your vehicle, here is a list of items you should check depending on the season:

  • Summer: Check for worn hoses; if they are cracked or brittle they should be replaced.
  • Winter: Check for worn belts; if they are cracked or frayed they should be replaced.
  • All Seasons: Check for worn sensors; if they are corroded or damaged they should be replaced.
If the engine overheats, it can suffer serious internal damage that requires expensive repairs and can ruin a summer vacation. To make it easier to track your car's maintenance schedule, we've created a simple, downloadable car maintenance checklist to help you stay on top of your car's maintenance. And of course, it's important to remember that car maintenance costs, while not always cheap, can ultimately help you avoid costly repairs in the future. When in doubt, consult a qualified technician about any cooling problem and always consult the owner's manual for routine maintenance procedures.

Following a car maintenance schedule and keeping a good record of what you've done can help extend the life of your vehicle and protect you against breakdowns, expensive repairs, and other unwanted surprises.