As a young driver or new driver passing you’re test, the last thing you want to be concerned about is the maintenance of your car! However, ignoring some of the most common maintenance tasks altogether can result in you to be spending a lot of money on repairs down the line. If this is you, or you simply don’t understand or feel comfortable carrying them out, here’s some key things everyone should know and do:
Check your oil!
We’ve all the heard the phrase ‘like a well oiled engine’ – and that’s exactly what you need to make sure your engine has! To check your oil:
- Make sure your vehicle is parked on the most flat service possible.
- Leave your engine to cool down (1-4 hours depending on the length of your last drive).
- Pull the ‘Dipstick’ out. (On most vehicles, this has a yellow top like the image shown above).
- Wipe the bottom clean and then re-insert the Dipstick all the way in.
- Pull back out, and check where the oil level is. If the oil is in between the 2 ‘markers’ you are fine. If it is very near or close to the bottom, you will need to top up your oil as soon as possible. Check your handbook if you are purchasing and topping up the oil yourself.
(Image Via Halfords)
Keep your Coolant topped up.
On modern vehicles, you will be warned via a light on your Dashboard if your Coolant is low. If not, try and check this regularly once a month yourself:
- You must ensure your car has properly cooled down.
- Locate your coolant tank (this is usually a white or semi-transparent bottle).
- If the exterior of the tank is dirty, wipe clean and locate the markers ‘Low’ and ‘High’. Depending on where your coolant sits between these markers will define your need to top up.
- If you need to top up, again make sure your engine has completely cooled down, remove the cap with a rag, and top up between the lines.
Clean your car!
This one may seem obvious, but not cleaning your car for several weeks can in fact have huge implications on paintwork and bodywork in general. Remove general road debris as soon as possible. This includes Tar, Bugs and Bird droppings which can somewhat ‘bind’ or erode your paintwork if left untreated for a long period of time.
Re-spraying your car is a lot more expensive than washing it, so don’t be shy!
(Image Via RAC)
Check your Tyres.
This is crucial. Again, most modern cars will indicate low tyre pressure via a warning light, but if not you will need to do this manually via a pressure gauge or taking to a garage for inspection. Most petrol stations will be equipped with air pump facilities which are very easy to use!
Inspecting your Tyres manually should be a regular check. Low Tread (the baldness of your Tyre grip) can not only result in failing your MOT, but land you with a huge fine if pulled over by the police.
The most common practice for checking Tread depth is with a 20 pence coin. Insert the coin into the Tyre grooves, and if you can’t see the outer band / border of the coin, you are fine! If not (or if unsure) visit a garage for inspection.
Don’t ignore windscreen chips!
It is very common, especially when driving down the motorway to have your windscreen chipped. Car windscreens are very tough, however if you do get a chip, it should be repaired immediately. Ignoring your chip will only cause it to get worse, and the cost of a brand new windscreen will be far more than giving ‘Gavin from AutoGlass’ a call! It is a very quick and simple job for a car damage repair company!
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