Vehicle inspection checklist

8 minute read Published on Nov 10, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Automobile mechanic repairman checking a car engine with while writing to a clipboard

If you drive, then you know the importance of keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. You rely on your car to get you from point A to point B. Thus, there’s nothing worse than an unexpected breakdown. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure the longevity of your car, and that’s through regular maintenance and inspections. Below, BrokerLink outlines a must-have vehicle inspection checklist, while also providing a mix of winter car maintenance tips and summer car maintenance tips.

Car maintenance defined

Car maintenance is the process of inspecting and maintaining your vehicle to ensure it is in working condition. Examples of basic car maintenance include topping up the fluid levels, changing the oil and filter, inspecting the brakes, and rotating the tires. Regular maintenance check-ups can also open your eyes to other issues, allowing you to get ahead of them and fix them early before they become major problems. While you should pay a professional to conduct a routine check-up on your vehicle every six to twelve months or every 5,000 to 7,000 kilometers, whichever comes first, it is recommended that you inspect it much more frequently than that. In fact, we suggest getting into the habit of inspecting your vehicle as often as every week.

Common car repairs and maintenance

While there are a myriad of issues that may need fixing or tuning up when it comes to your vehicle, these are the most common ones:


The oil in your car plays a critical role. It’s what keeps your engine running. More specifically, your car’s engine breaks down the oil. The problem that sometimes occurs is that the oil becomes too thin and stops adequately lubricating the engine. In turn, this causes wear and tear that takes a toll on your car. For this reason, oil changes should be part of your car maintenance routine and should be conducted regularly after every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres depending on the vehicle.


Tires are the second most common form of maintenance that must be performed on your car. The good news is that inspecting your tires is relatively easy. In fact, nowadays, most tires have built-in indicators that show wear and tear. If you have trouble locating these, you can also simply feel your tires with your hands. If the tread or ridges on your tire feels smooth or uneven, it’s likely time to swap them. The standard is that the tire tread should be no less than 1/16th of an inch high.

Air filters

Believe it or not, the air filters in your car play an important role. When clogged, whether by dirt, dust, or other debris, it translates to less airflow around the engine. In turn, this can decrease your horsepower, cause your engine to stall, and even lower your fuel efficiency.


The brakes, or more specifically, the brake pads are another common car repair. General wear and tear can impact your brake pads so pay close attention to the wear indicator with your car. Typically, if you start to hear a screeching or scraping sound when you brake, it’s worth having your brake pads inspected by a professional.

Understanding the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and inspection

Regular vehicle maintenance has tons of benefits. To motivate you to inspect your vehicle and schedule tune-ups from a professional, read through the following list of advantages that come with regular maintenance:

Maintenance makes driving safer

First off, regular car maintenance improves safety on the road. It can prevent breakdowns or potential issues that can be dangerous, such as a braking malfunction. It can also alert you to small issues before they become big ones. Keep yourself safe by inspecting your car regularly and following these safe driving tips.

Maintenance improves your car’s performance

The second benefit of regular vehicle inspections is that they can improve your car’s performance. When you have your car maintained on a frequent basis, you will experience increased steering stability, better tire traction, and a smoother engine.

Maintenance can save you money down the road

Believe it or not, car maintenance can save you money down the line. While it may cost more upfront to have your vehicle inspected regularly, these inspections can prevent larger, far more expensive issues from coming up down the line.

Maintenance saves you time

The second last advantage of vehicle maintenance is that, by preventing major issues from occurring, you will save time. We talked about the money savings above, but the other advantage is time. As an adult, you have a busy schedule, which means you can’t afford to have a major car repair on your hands. Without regular maintenance, the odds of a breakdown are far more likely, and not only would a major repair be more costly, but it would take longer, which means more time without a car. That’s a huge inconvenience. Don’t waste your time and money by inspecting your vehicle regularly.

Maintenance retains the value of your car

It is a well-known fact that cars depreciate quickly. Luckily, although maintenance won’t entirely stop the value of your vehicle from going down, it can significantly slow down this process. Staying on top of your maintenance schedule will delay your vehicle’s depreciation and help it retain value. Later on, when it comes time to sell or trade in your car, you will get more money for it.

Maintenance makes your car more fuel efficient

One last perk of having your car maintained regularly is that it will become more fuel efficient. With the high price of gas, making the most of every litre of gas matters, and that’s exactly what you get with regular car maintenance. Without regular maintenance, wear and tear on your car can lead to reduced fuel efficiency, which translates to a waste of time and energy.

Checklist for your vehicle inspection

Now that you know more about the importance of car maintenance and the most common repairs that vehicles need, let’s run through this vehicle inspection checklist. Consult this checklist anytime you evaluate your vehicle, which we recommend doing regularly:


  • Batteries: Test the voltage and run a charge or discharge load test.
  • Brakes: Assess the brake fluid levels and look for signs of wear on the drum, brake pads, and rotors.
  • Steering: Evaluate the power steering belt, pump, and fluid level, paying close attention to whether there are any leaks.


  • Lights: Test and inspect the headlights, brake lights, hazard lights, and turn signals.
  • Windshield wipers: Visually inspect the windshield and wiper blades.
  • Engine: Check the engine signs of leaks or damage.
  • Fluids: Evaluate the oil levels, coolant levels, and washer fluid levels.
  • Belts: Look at the belt operations.
  • Hoses: Examine the hoses for leaks and any other potential issues.
  • Exhaust system: Take a close look at the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, tailpipes, and muffler for damage, cracks, and leaks.
  • Tires: Inspect the tire tread to make sure it isn’t too worn, as well as the tire pressure and tire wear.

Where to schedule your upcoming car maintenance

If you’re ready to schedule a check-up for your car, you might be wondering where to go. While you can and should conduct vehicle inspections regularly, there is always value in having it examined by a professional. That is why we recommend scheduling your upcoming car maintenance at either a local car dealership or an auto body shop:

Car dealership

Booking a car maintenance appointment at your car dealership is a popular option. The only downside with car dealership maintenance check-ups is that they tend to be more expensive. This is due to the fact that the mechanics who work here may have more experience and licensing. That said, if you book your maintenance at the dealership you purchased your car from, then chances are these mechanics also have a lot more experience serving in your specific model of vehicle, which can result in better maintenance. Plus, booking a maintenance appointment at your local dealership might be more convenient given that they have your car’s history, service records, recalls, and more on hand.

Auto body shop

The second most common place that people schedule their car maintenance appointments at is an auto body shop. There are auto body shops all over Canada that offer a wide range of services, including car maintenance services. The benefit of having your car checked at an auto body shop is that their services are usually cheaper than those offered by car dealerships. The disadvantage is that the mechanics who work at auto body shops may not have expertise with your specific make and model of car.

Contact BrokerLink for a complete vehicle inspection checklist

For more information on the importance of car maintenance, how maintenance works, or where to have your car serviced, contact BrokerLink. BrokerLink has a team of insurance experts who can help with a wide variety of tasks. For example, we can provide you with a free quote for car insurance in Toronto, answer questions like, Does insurance cover for towing? and provide you with information on how maintenance, driving safely, and accidents affect car insurance rates. Speak with a licensed auto insurance specialist today by calling BrokerLink or visiting one of our 200+ insurance branches across Canada.

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FAQs on vehicle inspections and maintenance

When should I schedule car maintenance?

Car maintenance should be scheduled regularly - usually every six to twelve months, though it depends on how frequently you drive your car. If you drive frequently or take a lot of road trips, you may need to have it maintained more often than every six months. Check out these car maintenance tips for your road trip.

How much does car maintenance cost each year?

You can expect car maintenance to cost you roughly $1,500 per year. This amounts to between $100 and $125 per month spent on maintenance like oil changes, fluid changes, and air filter changes. Keep in mind that some months you won't spend anything on car maintenance while others you may spend more, especially as your mileage count grows.

Is car maintenance for electric vehicles the same?

Car maintenance for electric vehicles is similar to that of gas-powered vehicles, save for a few key differences. For example, electric vehicles do not use oil or transmission fluid to run. That said, they still have batteries, brakes, tires, as well as complex electrical systems that will need to be inspected regularly.

What are the top car maintenance tips?

General maintenance tips for cars include inspecting your vehicle for fluid leaks, flat tires, and debris that could impact visibility, such as snow or ice on the windows and windshield. Further, it is also good practice to test out all lights and listen for noises coming from your brakes. Make sure to evaluate both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. One last car maintenance tip is to purchase no-fault insurance that features accident benefits coverage, among other types of mandatory coverage, to ensure you are protected if something goes wrong and your car needs to be repaired.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.