What maintenance should be done after buying a used car?

It is important to put used cars just acquired in top shape to avoid future problems since a new buyer might not have all the maintenance history especially when full issues disclosure is not done.

Sometimes, people sell their cars because of faults and they sometimes keep them hidden from the new buyer. This is the reason why important maintenance should be done before going ahead to use a used car.


Types of maintenance that should be done on a newly acquired used car

1. Preventive maintenance

These are the type of maintenance that are done before a fault occurs to prevent faults from happening. Example of this is oil change.

2. Corrective maintenance

These are repairs done to fix existing faults. For example, repaire of a leaking cooling system.


List of maintenance to do immediately you buy a used car

1. Change all spark plugs if the vehicle uses petrol

2. Change filters. This includes engine air filter and cabin air filter.

3. Change all burnt out bulbs. This includes bulbs for headlights, tail lights, direction indicator, reverse lights, parking lights, fog lights and inner lights.

4. Change engine oil and engine oil filter.

5. Replace brake fluid.

6. Replace worn brake pads.

7. Change weak battery.

7. Replace worn serpentine belt.

9. Replace worn or slacked timing belt or chain.

8. Replace old transmission fluid and transmission filter.

9. Replace worn vacuum and coolant hoses.

10. Replace worn cables and plugs to avoid electrical fire.

11. Replace old power steering fluid.

12. Change worn tires.

13. Do tire alignment and tire rotation.

14. Replace old coolant with new one.

15. Lubricate all greasable fittings.

16. Clean throttle body with carburetor cleaner.

17. Clean mass airflow sensor with MAF cleaner.

18. Replace worn suspension components like ball joints, bushes, control arms, dampers and so on.

19. Replace bad sensors like oxygen sensor, coolant temperature sensor, MAF, camshaft sensor and so on.

20. Revert non-stock modifications. For example, thermostat removal, direct fan connection and fuse bypass. The cause the led to those modifications must be addressed first.


It might not be possible to do all these maintenance on your newly acquired new car. That is why it is important to employ and expert for a pre-purchase inspection and also to ascertain areas that need immediate preventive and corrective maintenance.