Maintenance is not just for car enthusiasts. Looking after your vehicle actually has many benefits that all motorists will appreciate. It improves safety by detecting faults early, enhances reliability and performance, saves money by preventing the need for expensive repairs, minimises the chances of roadside emergencies, and helps you to command a higher resale value.
The good news is that enjoying these benefits isn’t as complicated as you might think. Follow the five simple maintenance steps below and you could save a fortune keeping your car out of the garage for longer.
Read the owner’s manual
At best, when buying a new car, most drivers skim the owner’s manual, only to put into the glove box to gather dust until something goes wrong. However, the owner’s manual is packed full of vital information that will keep your car ticking over, including what you need to check, how often, and the signs that something might be wrong that you have to look out for.
Top tip: If you’ve misplaced your manual, don’t worry. Just do a simple internet search, and you should be able to download the owner’s manual of your vehicle without a problem.
Learn how to check and change your fluids
Generally speaking, you should check your oil at least once a month, antifreeze once before winter and once before summer, and wiper fluid every couple of months.
As outlined above, your owner’s manual will tell you how to perform these checks for the exact make and model of your vehicle. But, as a rule of thumb, the tanks for most of these fluids will have clear gauges or dipsticks that will allow you to quickly check current and optimum levels. And if you’re not sure which tank is which, and what you need to do, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that will run you through the process.
Regularly inspect your tyre pressure and condition
Replacing your tyres all at once can get very expensive. In addition to increasing safety, getting into the habit of regularly checking your tyre pressure will help prevent the occurrence of unnecessary damage and the thread wearing thin too quickly. The maximum pressure for your vehicle’s tyres is usually displayed on the sidewall of your tyres, or you can find it online in a couple of clicks.
Most petrol stations have a machine that will allow you to inflate your tyres for free. Such machines typically display the current pressure of each tyre, before inflating it your desired pressure. Repeat this process to inflate all four tyres on your car to the desired pressure.
Protect your insurance premiums with an in-car camera
Even if you’re a safe and cautious driver, accidents can happen. In the worst case scenario, a traffic collision can cause damage hundreds if not thousands of pounds worth of damage to your car, even when you’re not to blame.
For example, if someone puts a dent in your car while parked at the supermarket and drives away without leaving a note, the installation of an in-car camera will give you a better chance of finding out who’s responsible and making them pay for the damage. Similarly, if get targeted for a crash for cash scam, having a dash cam will ensure you don’t become a victim.
Examine all your lights on a habitual basis
Ideally, you should try and examine all your car’s lights weekly, and definitely at least once a fortnight. To perform the required checks, turn the ignition key far enough for the electrics to kick in. Note: you won’t need to run the engine to inspect your lights.
One at a time, flick the switch for your front lights, fog lights, and indicators, looking out for blown bulbs and cracks or dirt on the lenses. For the brake lights, you will be easier if get someone to give you a hand. Then, one of you can press the brake pedal while the other goes around the back to make sure everything is as it should be.
There you have it: five simple car maintenance checks that every driver should know. Even if you’re not mechanically minded, these easy to perform checks will save you money, make your car safer to drive, and protect the value of your investment. Start spotting problems now and before they cause a bigger problem further down the line.