Maintaining Your Car – Basic Checks

Wash your car each week to ensure you can see out of the windows and that the mirrors are clean, you can be heavily fined if you drive with a restricted view. Check the windscreen for chips, get any that you find repaired as soon as possible. If you find any chips on the bodywork get those repaired too, especially those that go right down to the metal. Also check that your windscreen wipers do not need replacing, try cleaning them first, if they still do not work properly then replace them.

Check all of your cars fluids each week and top them up if they need it. Include brake fluid, oil, fuel and windscreen and rear window screen wash in your weekly checks. Use screen-wash fluid in your car, it is much better than water and will not freeze. Engine coolants also need checking periodically.

On a weekly basis check your tyres for wear and check that they have the correct pressure in them, do not forget to include the spare tyre in your check. The car’s owner manual will tell you what the correct pressure is for all tyres. In the UK 1.6mm is the minimum legal tread depth, use a tyre gauge to check that each tyre has enough tread. Replace any tyres just before they get down to 1.6mm of tread depth, it is safer and you can avoid a fine, which can be very expensive. Check that there are no foreign objects like nails embedded in the tyres.

Check that your sidelights, headlights, indicators, hazard lights and fog lights are all working as they should. Carry at least one replacement bulb with you for each type of light. Check dashboard warning light fuses to make sure that they do not need replacing, e.g. petrol gauge, and servicing light.

Listen to the engine ticking over, then rev the engine and listen again, if it sounds as if the car is not ticking over as it should then take it to the garage or a tuner. At the same time check the exhaust, you can often hear small holes or loose brackets, getting these repaired early will save you a great deal of money in the long run.

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