Tips for Simple Car Maintenance That Anyone Can Do
Taking good care of your car can have three major benefits: it’ll make it run more smoothly and economically, it’ll help extend its life, and it’ll avoid many safety issues that arise from a poorly maintained vehicle. While a regular service carried out by a competent mechanic is essential, there is much that you can do yourself quickly, easily, and cheaply.
Firstly, regularly check that the pressure of each tyre is within its recommended range – you should do this at least once a month if not more often. Low tyre pressure not only causes handling issues, but will also increase fuel consumption. Also keep an eye on the tread depth, as badly worn tyres are dangerous as well as illegal. Your annual MOT check will pick up tyres that are reaching the end of their life, but it does no harm to check yourself every few months or so, especially if you’re clocking up the miles between MOTs.
Engine and Cooling
An overheating engine can place substantial strains on your whole vehicle, and if left unchecked the damage can be costly to fix. Visually check that all visible belts and hoses within the engine compartment are clean and free from wear, and if there are any signs of fraying then have them replaced as soon as possible. Also ensure that your coolant level is high enough – your car’s handbook will show you how to do this safely: follow the instructions carefully, you should be able to check levels without removing the coolant cap and risking releasing hot fluid under pressure.
While you’re under the bonnet, check your oil levels and top up if necessary. Do this every fortnight or so, and particularly before starting a long journey. If you notice that the oil needs frequent topping up then this could be an early sign of an engine problem, so get it checked before it progresses further.
Lights and Electrics
Checking all your vehicle’s lights, inside and out, is a simple job but one that can be essential for safety – not to mention the risk of a ticket if you’re pulled over with defective lights. Replacing any that aren’t working is also a simple job you can do yourself, or a high street spares retailer will often do this for a nominal charge. Also check that all other electrical parts such as windscreen wipers are operating properly, and replace minor items such as wiper blades if they’re worn.
However minor your level of car mechanics skill and knowledge, taking the time to check and maintain as many parts of your car as you can will pay off in avoiding possible major repair bills further down the line.