Want to keep your car healthy in between visits to the mechanic? Easy, follow Practical Motoring’s six-step car maintenance basics checklist.
Get into a habit of checking your tyres once a week (they’re your car’s contact with the road) – check the tyre pressures regularly so go and get yourself a good quality tyre pressure gauge, because an under-inflated tyre can cause unnecessary wear on your tyres, create drag (increasing fuel consumption) and will provide less than ideal grip when cornering or braking.
Like checking your tyres, it’s a cinch to make sure all of your car’s lights are working, both inside and out. Ask someone to help with this, especially when you’re checking the tail-lights.
3. Keep your car clean
Keeping the inside of your car clean and tidy will help keep it in good condition, and that’ll go well for you when it comes to selling the car, either privately or to a dealer. And don’t just think one big clean right before selling the thing will do the trick. It won’t.
Now to the outside of your car. The reason you should wash your car regularly is two-fold. Washing your car not only gets rid of stuff like road grime, bird droppings and tree sap, but also helps (if you apply a wax, paint protector or sealant, which you should) provide a sacrificial layer. There are also products available which provide a complete barrier between your car paint and the weather.
4. Check the paint and windscreen
There’s no better time to give the exterior of your car a good look over than when you’re washing it. You want to keep a close eye on any chips out of the paint, because they can lead to rust if left unattended. Similarly, you want to have a good look at the windscreen and check for chips or cracks. Don’t forget to check your windscreen wipers, if they’ve become streaky and scratchy replace them straight away.
5. Read the owner’s manual
You should have a good look through your car owner’s manual to check on things like what type of oil the manufacturer recommends, and when it suggests the oil should be changed, what type of air filters and any drive or timing belts. The latter is particularly important if you’ve purchased a used car.
Even if you never change the oil in your car (leaving that to the mechanic), or the power steering fluid and coolant (surely you’ll top up the windscreen washer fluid), it pays to know how to check the levels. Most engines have brightly coloured screw tops, or lids indicating what they hope the likes of you and me will keep a regular check on.
If you think we’ve missed something out, then let us know in the comments below.
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