Do you ever feel like your car has become a money pit? This can be the case when basic car maintenance is neglected. You might get your annual service and of course, bring your car for the NCT when it is due but realistically, you should be checking your basic requirements monthly. This will keep your wallet in check and avoid any major faults developing, keeping your car running more efficiently and leaving you with some extra cash to splash.
The most obvious sign of a faulty battery would be the vehicle failing to start. A lot of people may have experienced the cold morning feeling where the car will not start due to the low temperatures.
The best way to judge the health of a battery is going to get a diagnostic. There are some ways to avoid your battery going flat such as storing it out of cold weather, but also getting out on a long drive to allow the battery charge properly.
Carry jump leads in the event of a flat battery as there is usually a good samaritan out there who wont mind lending you a jump.
Tyres are one of the most common problems for failing the NCT. People tend not to give much attention to their tyres, but they are easiest to spot a problem. You can check your tyre pressure at most service stations, free in most cases. Be sure to check the required tyre pressure in your vehicle’s manual.
Cars with under inflated tyres use more fuel and are more prone to punctures. Keeping an eye on your thread depth in very important as it is illegal to travel with your thread depth less than 1.6mm. You can face a serious fine if below legal limit, or worse be involved in accident.
When your wiper performance suffers and start showing streaks or gaps, be sure to check the quality of your wipers. If the blades have any noticeable tears or beginning to peel away, be sure to replace them immediately.
Wiper blades are easy to replace, but if you struggle, the supplier might fit them for a small fee, possibly on the house!
Under the bonnet, there are various tanks that contain vital liquids for your maintenance of your vehicle. Get into the habit of checking these regularly as any leaks or low levels can cause big problems.
Coolant: Be sure to use the correct coolant for your vehicle as it will prevent your car from overheating, but also ensure your system does not fail in low temperature, as water alone would.
You can buy pre-mixed coolant, which is added straight to the tank – the antifreeze component is what is crucial. If the car displays any warning lights, you smell burning or the engine fan making a strange noise, these are all signs of overheating.
We might not be aware that one of our lights are out, so it is important to make regular checks. Get into the habit of parking up and testing all lights including headlights, fog lights, indicators and brakes. Sometimes another road user might flash there lights to warn you.
If a light is out, a lot of places who stock headlights also offer to fit them for a small fee, if not, free.
If your car has air conditioning, you may only use it during the summer months. If unused for a long time, the AC can lose lubrication as the seals can dry out or shrink. Run your AC regularly just to keep it well lubricated.
Is there anything else?
As well as making regularly basic checks of your vehicle, pay attention to all lights on the dashboard and if you see a warning light or hear an unusual noise, get it checked by a professional!
You can check out our last blog post on building up your confidence before getting behind the wheel.