MOT’s may have been extended but car owners are still expected to keep their cars road worthy and safe as to not endanger themselves or other road users. We have put together a quick list of things to check to look after your car and make sure it is safe to drive on the road.
1. Your user manual is your best friend when it comes to your car – it will tell you all you need to know about every aspect of your car.
2. Your tyres are a very important feature on your car. They keep you on the road, so you need to check them. Having tyre pressures at the right level could save your life. Aim to check your tyres once a week – the recommended pressures for your tyres will be in your user manual or sometimes shown on the door frame.
3. Keeping your car serviced is vital for its health. Your handbook will tell you how often you should do it. Many cars, these days, have warning lights that come up on the dashboard and alert you when a service is needed – don’t ignore them!
4. Another way you can help your car is by driving smoothly. Small things such as going over speed bumps gently and avoiding sudden braking can make a difference. And making sure your car has a long motorway run every once in a while, to clear out the carbon deposit build up, can also help.
5. It is important to change your car’s filters – both the oil and air filters get clogged over time and can cause damage. Filter changes are usually done at the time of service but if you’re feeling brave, you can change them yourself. Just make sure you get genuine parts and read the owner’s manual thoroughly.
6. Many cars now have air conditioning which is obviously great but is another aspect of your car that needs looking after. Air con needs to be in regular use as when it isn’t used for long periods, gas leaks can occur. This means that they need to be ‘re-gassed’. So, although not having your air conditioning on may save you a bit of money in petrol, it could cost you more in the long run.
7. A vital part of your car to maintain is the battery. Not using your car for long periods at a time can be detrimental – this causes the battery to degrade and go flat. Even jump-starting your car puts a strain on it. To combat this, consider trickle charging it whilst it’s not in use.
8. Spark plugs and high-tension leads are a critical part of your engine. They can have a major effect on the performance of your engine. Whilst these generally get changed during a service, if you notice signs of wear and tear then get them checked sooner.
9. It used to be that a vehicle’s oil needed to be replaced every 3000 miles or every three months. Luckily for us, this has now changed to 5000 miles / every six months. However, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t check the oil regularly. This is simply done by removing the dipstick and just making sure the oil level is between the minimum and maximum level and is a light yellow/brown colour.
10. And last but not least, keep it clean. Too many people never wash their car, they don’t know that washing a car is far more than just making it look nice. Washing gets rid of grime and helps avoid corrosion which ultimately leads to a longer life. Read our tips on how to clean your car here.