Maintaining your vehicle can be a challenge. There’s a lot to worry about, especially for Wisconsin drivers who experience extreme, fluctuating temperatures and conditions. We’ve put together this annual car maintenance checklist to help you avoid car problems and save on repairs throughout the year.

Read on to get the car maintenance tips you need and hear from Matthews Tire Fond du Lac Manager, Allen Coburn, as he shares additional tips for Wisconsin drivers. Before we jump into the complete checklist, let’s start with the basics.

Why is Regular Vehicle Maintenance Important?

It can seem like car maintenance is an expensive chore you don’t need. Without proper maintenance, however, you’ll likely end up with expensive car repairs that cost far more than a regular maintenance routine would have cost.

More importantly, regular car maintenance isn’t just a good investment—it “ensures your vehicle is operating safely and efficiently at all times,” according to Allen. Driving a poorly maintained car will put you and other drivers in danger.

Maintaining your vehicle is especially important as a Wisconsin driver. You’ll need to keep everything in good working order to avoid breaking down and getting stranded, especially in the cold winter months.

Which Car Maintenance Services are the Most Important?

While every maintenance service on our annual checklist is vital to prolonging your car’s life and safety, some services are more necessary than others.

According to Allen, your vehicle’s most important maintenance services are oil changes, tire rotations and scheduled fluid changes.

Oil changes

Oil changes are one of the most popular routine car maintenance services, responsible for emptying and replacing vital engine fluids (mainly oil and coolant).

Driving with low oil and coolant levels can lead to extensive, sometimes dangerous, engine problems. “Keeping your oil fresh is vital for internal engine components to operate properly,” according to Allen.

How often should you get an oil change? In most cases, you should schedule a vehicle oil change every 3,000 miles or every three months (whichever comes first). Some newer vehicles may be able to go 5,000-7,500 miles between oil changes.

It is always a good idea to check your car’s manufacturer guidelines to determine how often you should schedule your oil changes.

Tire rotations

Quality tires aren’t cheap, so get the most out of your investment with regular tire rotations, a service Allen says offers your tires the best possible tread life. That’s especially important for Wisconsin drivers who need that extra tread in the winter.

“During a Matthews Tire rotation service, our technicians also inspect other vital components such as brakes, suspension and steering components,” Allen explains. That means we’ll catch any issues before they become more significant.

Fluid Changes

Scheduled fluid changes are also vital to ensure your car can handle extreme Wisconsin weather in both the winter and summer.

According to Allen, keeping your transmission fluid in good condition is essential. This simple step ensures your vehicle can shift adequately without interference from “harmful contaminants and particles,” Allen says.

The Most Important Car Maintenance Service for Wisconsin Drivers

Above all, car winterization is one of the most essential services for drivers throughout Wisconsin. Preparing for the cold, harsh conditions and performing regular inspections on your battery, lights and other parts will ensure you don’t get stranded in the cold.

When is the best time to winterize your car?

Be sure to prepare your car for the winter cold, ice and snow well before winter. Allen suggests winterizing your vehicle during the fall to ensure you stay safe.

The Wisconsin Driver Annual Car Maintenance Checklist

Now that you know the most critical maintenance services for Wisconsin drivers, it’s time to view the entire annual maintenance checklist.


  • Complete fluid check:
    • Engine oil
    • Brake fluid
    • Coolant/Antifreeze
    • Windshield washer fluid
  • Check tire pressure and tread
  • Check headlights and brake lights

Every three months (or 3,000 miles)

  • Oil change
  • Engine air filter change
  • Inspect:
    • Exhaust system
    • Belts
    • Hoses
    • Battery and cables

Every six months (or 6,000 miles)

  • Tire rotation
  • Cabin air filter change
  • Spark plug wire replacement
  • Inspect:
    • Wiper blades
    • Engine coolant levels

Every 12 months

  • Tire alignment
  • Inspect (and repair as necessary):
    • Brakes and wheel bearings
    • Air conditioning system
    • Steering and suspension
    • Spark plugs
    • Timing belts and chains

Schedule Your Car Maintenance Service with Matthews Tire

Allen’s biggest piece of advice? Choose a reputable repair and maintenance auto shop like your local Matthews Tire to service your vehicle regularly.

“We keep records of all the service we perform for your vehicle,” Allen explains, “so we can keep you informed and help plan all the required service your car will need throughout the year.”

Schedule your Matthews Tire maintenance services today to keep your car rolling all year long!

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