Car maintenance is often over looked, I know we forget every damn year what date we need to book our MOT by and end up squeezing it in last minute. Terrible really, I know! We rely so much on cars for everything these days, from mundane but essential trips like commuting and school or nursery runs, to things like holidays, days out to looking after our own health by getting us to doctors and hospital appointments or those late night trips to out of hours. Cars have become a fundamental part of out lives and just like your health is important, your cars is too.
What should you be checking?
Every couple of weeks check your tyre pressure (you can do this at the petrol station) is correct as per the tyre manufacturer’s recommended pressure (which is written in your manual or sometimes on the drivers side door. You should also check the condition, looking out for any cuts, tears, nails, etc and ensure the tread is within legal limits (1.6mm for cars).
If your tyres aren’t up to scratch this can invalidate your insurance.
You should check your engine oil every week or so and always before any long journey’s so if you’re heading off this summer, make sure you check! Make sure the levels are within the max and min signs and the colour is brown and transparent. If it’s dark brown or black you need to change it! If you find yourself needing to top up more regularly then book your car in for a service to get checked over.
Make sure your engine is cold first and check your water levels are within the guidelines. Once a week should be enough times to keep on top of this one!
Check the battery terminals for corrosion as this will cause bad connections and failed starts.
Make sure that your screen wash system is working at all times. A faulty or unsatisfactory screen wash system is against the law so makes sure it’s always topped up with a suitable cleaning additive.
You should check your windscreen for any cracks or chips and get them seen to as soon as possible. Windscreen wipes should also be replaced yearly to ensure they are working to their full potential and not smearing.
Check your lighting system is functioning properly every week. Get someone to stand outside your car whilst you activate all the lights or if you can’t then wait until nighttime and watch for refections of the lights against a fence or brick wall.
If you’re a little bit clueless on how to check these things or would rather have a professional check your car over then you can book it in at your local garage where they can service your car for you. There are normally different levels of servicing starting from a basic service up to a full service.
If you’ve ever had your power steering go you will know how important it is to regularly check your hydraulic fluid reservoir every month. So unless you’re Popeye don’t forget this one!
A basic service includes things like oils changes, topping up any fluid levels like brake fluid, steering wheel fluid, screen wash, etc whereas a full service they check everything. For more information on what is checked whilst servicing see the Fife Autocentre website where you will find everything you could possibly want to know about car maintenance, servicing and MOTs.