Whether you’ve just splashed out on a new motor or have been driving the same car for years, it’s important to maintain your car and make sure it’s running well, particularly in the run-up to winter.
By carrying out regular checks and routine maintenance on your vehicle, you can catch any problems early on and avoid having to pay large maintenance bills at your local garage. Our guide to car maintenance will tell you what you need to check for, how to do it yourself and when it’s time to take your car to the garage.
There are a few basic things that should be regularly checked or replaced in your car – you don’t have to check all of these, but it’s a good place to start:
- Tires – make sure they’re inflated properly to recommended levels
- Air filter – this should be clean
- Oil – should be changed regularly to keep your engine clean and running effectively, as well as to keep vehicle emissions down
- Antifreeze and washer fluid – should be regularly topped up, particularly in the winter months
- Wiper blades – check for wear and tear
- Lights – make sure that all your lights are working on every setting and replace bulbs where necessary. Also ensure that your interior car light and dashboard lights are functioning properly.
Doing it Yourself
Most of the above maintenance checks can be carried out at home – it helps to have your car owner’s manual or a Hayes guide to hand when carrying out basic vehicle checks. There are some things that you should leave to the professionals, particularly if you don’t feel confident checking them yourself. These include things like the brakes and brake pads, engine, exhaust and shock absorbers.
Most routine maintenance tasks including checking your tire pressure and oil, antifreeze and washer fluid levels should be carried out on a weekly or fortnightly basis, to ensure your car is running properly. You could even attend a basic car maintenance course at your local college or higher education institution to learn a bit more than the essentials.
Time for the Experts
If your car is making strange noises that you can’t identify, failing to start or there are other symptoms that something is wrong, it’s probably time to take it to the garage. Hopefully, you won’t need to visit the garage until it’s time for your yearly MOT or service, but there are always times when something goes wrong. Whether it’s a broken exhaust, problem with your transmission or something more minor such as faulty dashboard electrics.
It’s not a good idea to tackle any of these things yourself unless you’re really confident in your abilities, as you could cause damage that will cost more money to fix. Take your car in for a check-up and let expert mechanics solve the problem for you.
Getting into the habit of regular routine car maintenance is important, particularly for new drivers, so start as you mean to go on and begin learning about your car today!