To begin with keep the tools from the tools list we suggest you to have.
You'll need oil filter removal tool which looks a bit like a bicycle chain with a handle (if sandpaper doesn't work).
Spark plug tool.
Spanner or socket set for the sump plug (the oil drain plug).
Screw driver for the air filter housing (many have snapped on clips instead!).
Jack - raise the car to check each wheels bearing by rocking the wheel and seeing if there is excessive play.
Tire Pump - to ensure the tires are all at the correct pressure.
Oil catch pan to collect the old engine oil for safe disposal.
Now let's start with the actual work of servicing your car.
Oil - Drain the old oil from the engine. First run the engine so that the oil is warm, place the catch pan under the sump and loosen the sump nut taking care that it does not fall in to the hole of the catch pan. Be careful as the oil is very HOT!
When the engine is empty of oil, replace the sump washer and sump nut and then fill the engine to top of mark on dipstick NEVER over or UNDER the lower mark. Pour slowly pausing and allowing the dipstick level to settle and check. It is generally better to be slightly under than over as it is much easier to top up than drain off the oil. It can take 5-10 minutes for the level to settle, aim to get half the dipstick level at first.
Spark Plugs- Remove the old plugs and check them for pitting, oil fouling etc. This will tell you a lot about the condition of the engine and ideally the plugs should have a dark grey sooty appearance. If this is light grey the engine is running lean or black implies that the engine is running rich. (Greasy black plugs can indicate an oil leak). The new plugs should be fitted so they are finger tight so if you have a deep hole they drop into just use the plug removal tool as if it were a screwdriver until it is finger tight. Be careful not to cross thread it as you screw it in - this is why we suggest finger tight initially.
Then make a quarter to half of an extra turn further using the grip and handle of the plug removal tool. If the plugs are not tight, they could pop out causing a sudden loss of power and if they are too tight you could damage the thread in the head of the engine as this is softer than the thread of the plug.
Suspension- Check shock absorbers for leaks and wear (bounce each corner of the car and it should settle again within 3 bounces). Check all bushes (rubber blocks and mounting points) and ball joints for signs of wear and play.
Lights - Check all lights (use a mirror or reflection in a window placed behind the car to check rears if you don't have a second pair of eyes to help). Don't forget the number plate light.
Oil door hinges with white grease (close and open the greased doors fully to ensure the surface is covered).
Brakes - Do the pads still have good depth left on them? Replace brakes if they start to squeal and preferably just before. If the disk is becoming glazed you can rough it up a little with course grade sandpaper or wire brush. Apply a little copper grease to the movable parts taking care not to get this on the discs or pads!
Check the brake fluid level and gravity - this should be renewed every 2-3 years in most cars.
Steering - Check rack and track rod ends for play. Wobble the wheel as you drive along and you should get a slight wobble from the car. If there is free play and the car takes a fraction of a turn to respond then get your steering checked out.
Exhaust - Check for leaks/severe corrosion and make sure all hanger rubbers are there and not split. With a torch at night you can see very clearly any cracks or gaps in the exhaust. This is particularly handy for tracking down tiny exhaust leaks.
- Make sure all seat belts fasten and give them a good tug to ensure they lock. If belts have become frayed, fail to lock or does not recoil when released replace them.
Tires - Check all tires for cuts and damage to the sidewall. Check that the tread depth is legal and also take time to check the tire pressures - this is something you should do weekly. If the pressure is low suspect a slow puncture and check thoroughly with water mixed with washing up liquid - bubbles will form where the puncture is.