You might not realise this, but the majority of major mechanical failures on a car (principally, on the engine) are the result of a lack of correct and regular maintenance.
For example, that ‘slow’ oil leak suddenly becomes a big one, eventually causing the engine to seize whilst you are on the motorway because the engine has been starved of oil!
OK, I know that sounds like a bit of scaremongering, but it’s a classic example of how something that you may think is a low priority to fix at the time can suddenly turn into a huge (and expensive) problem for you.
If keeping on top of your car maintenance isn’t your forte, then you should check out these top car maintenance tips that will save you a whole heap of cash!
Become familiar with your car’s servicing schedules
Every car that is manufactured these days comes with an owner’s manual. If your car does not have one (perhaps a previous owner lost it), you can normally buy a replacement one from your car manufacturer’s main dealer or online from eBay, for example.
Generally, cars require a service every 12 months or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. Although opinion is divided on doing this, I would thoroughly recommend getting the oil and filter changed on your engine every 6 months or 5,000 miles, especially if you don’t drive your car very often.
Do a weekly inspection
All motorists should, in theory, be checking their cars on a weekly basis to ensure their longevity.
Although it’s safe to assume that if your car breaks down somewhere your breakdown company will send a recovery truck to your aid, it is obviously better to prevent breakdowns from occurring in the first place!
Here is a checklist to help get you started, as recommended by harratts.co.uk:
- Fluids – check and where necessary top up oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and screen wash. With the exception of screen wash, if you finding that you are having to top up fluids very frequently, then this could indicate the presence of a leak somewhere;
- Lights – you need to make sure that all of your car’s exterior lights are in good working order. Some cars have check bulb systems which will illuminate a warning bulb on your dashboard or centre console to alert you that there is low resistance in a circuit somewhere (i.e. a bulb has blown). If your car doesn’t have such a system, you should check that all bulbs on the front, side and rear of your car are working properly;
- Tyres – all tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm under European law, and they should not have any rips or tears, sagging or bulging. Incorrect wear of the front wheels may be the result of those wheels being out of alignment;
- Brakes – if possible, inspect the condition of your brake discs and pads. The discs should not have corrosion or uneven wear, and the pads should have plenty of friction material left on them.