Keeping a car running, in good nick and looking fly can be an expensive undertaking, to say the least. It’s essential if you want to avoid spiralling costs, then, to look after your vehicle with love, respect and thought at all times. Regular car inspection, maintenance and repair will ensure that future repair costs are minimised; why all UK drivers shouldn’t underestimate the importance of proper car care in keeping down costs. With that in mind, and with the help of Greenflag, here’s our IDEAL guide to common sense car care tips.
Prevention is better than cure, as they say, and this is certainly true for car care. If you keep on top of any potential issues, then critical, costly ones later down the line are far less likely. So, stick to your car’s service schedule and carry out basic checks by reading through your car’s handbook regularly.
There are several checks you should be making on a daily basis to ensure things are ticking over as they should be. This doesn’t mean getting the clipboard out and making notes, but rather having a little awareness each time you get in your car.
- Be alert for signs of change, such as the engine running less smoothly, the breaks feeling less responsive than usual, or the steering feeling vaguely odd.
- If when you start the car, the engine turns over more slowly than usual, the battery might be at the end of its life. Take it to a garage or fast fit operator; many perform battery checks for free.
- Keep an eye on the tyres. Any cuts, damage or reduction in pressure need urgent attention.
- Be aware of the fuel gauge. An empty tank or putting the wrong fuel into the car are all-too-common causes of breakdown.
The same goes for weekly checks, though here some actual effort, aside from simply noticing changes, will be required. Don’t resent it; your car (and bank balance) will pay your good work forward.
- Check tyre pressure, and if necessary adjust them to the correct level shown in the car handbook, the sticker inside the fuel flap, or on the door pillar. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre and give all tyres a look over, checking for lumps, splits and cracks.
- Check and top up the windscreen washer bottle, and include an additive to tackle grease, squashed flies in summer and ice in winter.
- Clean your car, wash the windows and wipe all the lights to keep you safe. Check for any blown bulbs.
- If your car doesn’t have a sealed-for-life battery, check the level in the cells and top up with distilled water as necessary.
What? There’s more? Well, nobody said this would be easy. There are also monthly checks you should be making to maintain your car’s safety and performance.
- Check the level of oil in the engine and ensure it’s between the maximum and minimum marks on the dipstick.
- Check for sufficient liquid in the cooling system. Top up as necessary, and include antifreeze in the mixture, both in winter and in summer. This helps protect against overheating, as well as frost damage.
- Give the car a good wash and polish to keep the paintwork in top condition.
- Watch for the first signs of rust forming and have it treated before it gets worse. Look for signs of water leaks inside. Check tyre tread depths and look for signs of uneven wear, hinting at possible suspension problems.