Having your car serviced on a regular basis is essential, but there is plenty that you can do yourself to keep your car maintained and in the best condition in between these trips to the garage. Following a few simple car maintenance tips can help you to reduce the service bills and keep your car legal and roadworthy.
If you’re handy with a wrench, why not get stuck in and have a go at these simple, but essential, car maintenance tips. Remember that your car’s manual is your friend. It should have all the information that you need to know how to maintain your specific model and tell you when certain tasks need doing. If you have maintenance tasks that you can’t tackle yourself, take your car to a good garage or a dealer like Tom Ahl CDJR, who will know what to do.
Check Your Washer Fluid
Make sure that you keep your windscreen washer topped up, especially during the winter or before you embark on a long journey. A lot of people don’t realize it, but in some places, it is actually illegal to drive without fluid in your car’s screen washer bottle. This means it is always a smart idea to keep your levels in check.
Keep An Eye On Your Tires
Check the pressure of your tires, and increase the pressure if you need to. Overly low or overly high tire pressure can change the way that your car drives and how your tires wear over time. It can also shorten their lifespan. Your tires must be the correct type and size for the model of your car, with at least the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm. If you’re not sure what your tire tread is, you can quickly check it using a penny. Place the penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If you can always see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tires are worn and shallow and should be replaced. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered, then you’re probably alright.
Top Up Your Engine Oil
Make sure that your car’s oil level is safely between the minimum and maximum mark on your car’s dipstick. If you’re running low on oil, you run the risk of the car breaking down, or causing damage to the engine. Too much oil can be just as damaging as too little, so don’t just tip the whole bottle in and hope for the best.
Keep Your Battery In Check
You should aim to change your car’s battery every three years if you can. A flat or faulty battery is one of the common reasons that cars break down.
There are a few warning signs of battery failure that you can keep an eye out for. These signs include the engine turning over more slowly more usual when you start the car, the red battery light in the instrument display flickers while you are driving, or the red battery light takes longer than usual to go out after you have started the car.
Check If Your Car Is Due A Service
For most cars, it is recommended to get a service every 12,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first. Check your car’s manual and your mileage to see whether it’s time for a service.
Top Up Your Cooling System Liquid
Despite its name, coolant isn’t just for winter. Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze and your car needs it all year round to keep your engine at the right temperature. Check your car’s manual to see what amount of coolant your car needs and make sure you keep on top of it.
Check Your Horn
Occasionally you should give your horn a quick blast to check that it is still working and that it is loud enough. It’s important to make sure that your car’s horn is working properly and can be heard clearly, in case you need it in an emergency to warn other drivers or pedestrians of potential danger.
Take A Look At Your Exhaust
In a well-ventilated space, start the engine and check for leaks. Listen for any unusual noises or smoke coming from your exhaust.
Keep An Eye On Your Mirrors
Before any journey, you should check that your mirrors are clearly visible from the driver’s seat. If they’re not, adjust them and make sure they’re clean.
Clean Your Reversing Camera
If your car has a reversing camera, give the lens a quick clean before a journey, to make sure you have the best view.
Test Your Brakes
Before you drive, test the handbrake and footbrake to make sure they are working correctly. It’s a good idea to do this on your driveway or a quiet road without traffic, so you can test your brakes safely.
Try Out Your Lights And Indicators
It can be easy to lose track of how well your car’s lights are working. This is why it’s a good idea to ask someone to stand outside of your car while you test the lights and indicators, and confirm that they are all working properly. Don’t forget your fog lights!
Test Your Windscreen Wipers
Check that your wipers are in good condition, with no tears or holes. While you’re checking, check your windscreen for any chips, and if you spot any, get them repaired as soon as you can. Chips can easily turn into cracks, which can mean having the whole windscreen replaced, rather than having a chip repaired.
Pay Attention To Your Dashboard Messages
A lot of people don’t know what the warning lights on their dashboard mean. Learn what they mean and how you should respond to them, so you aren’t caught out if one comes on while you’re driving.
Watch Out For Rust
Keep an eye out for the first signs of rust, and deal with it quickly to stop any damage to the bodywork before it can set in. You might think rust is just a cosmetic problem, but it can actually cause a lot of damage if it reaches the car’s frame.