The first step to keeping a proper schedule is to get the recommended maintenance procedures from your car owner's manual. Photocopy it, write it down or type it into your car maintenance software - just make sure you have it someplace that you can refer to with regularity. A good idea is to mark key dates on a calendar, so you can see it right when it's coming up.
Second, make a habit of regularly checking routine items in your car - oil, washer fluid levels, tire pressure, and wear patterns among others. Generally, the following checklist for minor inspections are highly-recommended for monthly routine maintenance schedule:
* Engine oil levels. You may also wish to check every 250 miles and before long road trips. Some people habitually check oil every time they fill up with gas.
* Engine coolant, washer fluid and brake fluid levels. Measure and fill up as necessary.
* Battery cables, clamps and terminals should be checked for possible problems.
* Belts. Check for tension or tears.
* Hoses. Test for leaks or cracks.
* Tires. Check pressure levels, including the spare. Also check for regular wear and tear.
Finding a Mechanic
It can be a tough choice when deciding who to get to service your car. Some people choose to bring it to their dealers, others to independent garages they know and trust, and others go to national chain stores with their packaged services.
Non-warranty covered scheduled maintenance for vehicles can usually cost as much as 50% less from independent garages than with dealers so if you know good ones in your area and it won't cause any problem with your warranty agreement, they are usually a better choice. However, it is generally advised to keep all service work with the dealers while your car is still under warranty to avoid any untoward problems.