What Is a Maintenance Inspection?

Mary McMahon

A maintenance inspection is a routine inspection of a motor vehicle which is conducted to make sure that it is in good working order. This type of inspection can be performed by the vehicle's owner or by a mechanic. It is a good idea to have regular inspections so that any problems can be identified at an early stage, allowing people to intervene promptly to correct them.

Machine inspections include checking for signs of rust.
Machine inspections include checking for signs of rust.

A number of things are checked during a maintenance inspection. Many people like to use checklists so that they can be sure that they have gone over everything and sample checklists are often available through organizations which promote vehicle safety. When an inspection is conducted by a mechanic, people should ask to see the checklist so that they know what was inspected.

A maintenance inspection for a car includes checking the tires.
A maintenance inspection for a car includes checking the tires.

Part of the inspection is visual. Taking the time to look a car over visually for things which seem out of place or amiss is important. People can check the tires to make sure that the tread is still good and there are no signs of uneven wear or punctures, and they can also check the body of the car for signs of damage such as rusts, dings, and so forth. Other things to check visually include the condition of the windshield wipers, the windshield itself, the battery for signs of corrosion, the hoses and belts under the hood, and so on.

Vehicle batteries should be checked routinely for signs of corrosion.
Vehicle batteries should be checked routinely for signs of corrosion.

Maintenance inspections also usually include checks of all the fluids in the vehicle, and a check to make sure that all of the directional signals are working. The inspection includes checking the headlights, brake lights, and so forth to make sure that all of the lights are functioning. Tire pressure is usually checked during an inspection, and a note of the mileage may be made as well.

A maintenance inspection may include checking and clearing any diagnostic codes on the vehicle's computer.
A maintenance inspection may include checking and clearing any diagnostic codes on the vehicle's computer.

If problems are identified during the inspection, they may be corrected then, or a note may be made to fix them later. For example, if the coolant is low, it can be topped off. If the tires need to be rotated, however, it will usually be necessary to make an appointment for the tire rotation. The maintenance inspection will also identify any error lights or warnings, with a recommendation to run a vehicle diagnostic to find out why the lights are illuminated so that they can be addressed.

If windshield wipers are not cleaning a windshield properly they must be replaced.
If windshield wipers are not cleaning a windshield properly they must be replaced.

In some regions of the world, drivers are required to submit their cars for maintenance inspection by government officials for safety reasons. Officials check the basics, and also look for signs that a vehicle has unusually high emissions. The goal is to intervene before cars become dangerous to drive.

A maintenance inspection typically includes checking a vehicle's fluid levels.
A maintenance inspection typically includes checking a vehicle's fluid levels.
Checking the tire pressure is an important part of a maintenance inspection.
Checking the tire pressure is an important part of a maintenance inspection.
Brake pads are checked during an inspection for signs of wear.
Brake pads are checked during an inspection for signs of wear.
Routine oil changes are a part of typical car maintenance.
Routine oil changes are a part of typical car maintenance.
A basic maintenance inspection can usually be performed at home without the need for a mechanic.
A basic maintenance inspection can usually be performed at home without the need for a mechanic.

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