Getting your car serviced and having a valid MOT is essential to the running of your car. For any car owner you want to ensure that your car will live its longest life and avoid any unexpected repairs. If you have a car finance or are leasing a car, you will also commit to keeping the car in good condition before it goes back to the dealer. But how can you maintain your car at home? There are many simple checks which you can do with little effort which can prevent larger problems happening in the future.
1. Tyre pressure and general condition
Many vehicles nowadays will give you an indication as to whether your tyre pressure is incorrect. However, you should do your own checks monthly. If your tyres are over or under inflated, it can shorten their lifespan and decrease your driving ability. As well as checking your tyre pressure you should also check the general condition of your tyres too.
It may seem obvious to have your fuel tank topped up but each year many people are left stranded do to not have enough fuel in their car. Around 1 in 10 breakdown policies also don’t cover drivers who run out of fuel! It is recommended that you never let your fuel run to its bare minimum and when you do fill up you should fill your tank to full.
3. Coolant levels
Your engine coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze. You can change your engine coolant yourself by first referring to your car’s handbook. This will tell you what mix of coolant and water you should use. You should always check the coolant levels only when the engine is cold and if the coolant is below the minimum mark, it could be the sing of a leak.
4. Engine Oil
Your engine oil helps your car to run smoothly and prevents engine failure, and it is recommended that you check it monthly. Low levels of engine oil can cause serious damage to your engine! You can use the dipstick under the bonnet to check the oil levels and top up if required with the correct type of oil for your car.
5. Car lights
A very simple car maintenance check that can save you money and stop you from getting a fine, is to check all your car lights are working correctly. You should regularly check all your lights to make sure they are all working and are free from cracks. This should include headlights, fog lights, indicators, brake lights and internal lights.
6. Timing belt
The timing belt or cam belt in your car is very important. It controls the timing of your car’s combustion engine. Car manufacturers usually recommended replacing your timing belt after several years of mileage. You can refer to your manufacturer handbook to see what your manufacturer recommends.
One of the biggest causes of breakdowns in the UK is battery problems. The life expectancy of a battery is around 3-5 years, but it can depend on the weather conditions and driving habits. How to change a car battery is quite easy to do at home yourself but can save you a big headache down the road.
It’s very easy to see if you’re windscreen wipes are worn away. When you use them, they may leave marks, are squeaking or not clean your windscreen properly. You should check them manually for general wear and tear. It is recommended that you replace your windscreen wipes every 6-12 months. The size you will need for your windscreen wiper can be found in your handbook.