Start low. Inspect tire treads for wear and sidewalls for damage. Check pressure with a tire gauge: Underinflation “boosts heat stress, diminishes fuel economy, and causes excessive wear.”
Get under the hood. Check oil and coolant levels and search for radiator leaks and weaknesses in hoses. If your car doesn’t have an automatic belt-tensioning device, check the engine belts with a tension gauge. Make sure the fuel and air filters are clean. Suspension joints and tie-rod ends should also be checked for excessive wear, but this might best be left to a pro. Use a cell tester to evaluate your battery’s health. If the battery is four years old or more, replace it.
Examine the exhaust. Avoid letting carbon monoxide seep into the cabin by inspecting the whole system—header pipe, catalytic converter, muffler, and tailpipe.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer