Thanks to Daniel Go for the image.
Your car is your prized possession. It takes months or years of saving to purchase it. No matter what you use your car for however, it needs regular maintenance to keep it healthy. Whether you just use it to nip around town or embark on long drives, the parts can wear down. This is particularly true in older cars.
Caring for you car is all about keeping regular checks in order to prevent major problems. Those who care for their vehicle on a monthly basis are much less likely to incur huge costs down the line. The regular checks and care that you’re about to read are simply, easy procedures. They don’t take long and they don’t have to be done too often. However, each of the components we’ll look at serve the larger, more expensive parts like the engine. If the small parts don’t function correctly, the larger parts suffer.
Whether you own your own car or you’ve used car leasing options in the UK, good care is essential. Think of these checks as a health update for your car. Get into a routine and set a calendar for when each of these needs doing. It’s easy to stay on top of. If you get into this habit, your car will run for longer, it will run healthier and it’ll save you money. When it comes to selling the car, it will be worth a lot more as it will remain in good condition.
Check Tyre Pressure
You should check the pressure of your tyres once a month. Tyre pressure fluctuates depending on the season. The temperature can affect them, and that can affect your driving. Over-inflated tyres will lead to poor handling on the road. They are much more likely to burst or rip off on corners. Under-inflated tyres will simply overheat and wear down faster. Tyres are designed to run for longest at their correct pressure. This varies for each car, check the manual and tyre placard in the door to keep them at the advised pressure.
Rotate Your Tyres
Every 3,000 to 7,500 miles or so, simply switch your tyres around. Tyres wear unevenly on most cars. The ones at the front wear down faster on front-wheel drive cars, for example. Rotating the front tyres to the back can significantly extend the life of your tyres. They’ll wear evenly, and when you do need them replaced, you can change all of them at once. This saves money and time in the garage. Follow your owner’s manual on the proper tire rotation patterns. Some tires are directional.
Change the oil regularly
Whenever you rotate your tyres, get into the habit of changing your oil too. Every 3,000 miles or as required by the manufacturer. Oil is the lubricant for all the internal parts of your engine. Without it, the engine parts will begin to grind against each other and wear down. Engine parts are expensive. Simply changing the oil is a much cheaper alternative.
Although you’re changing your oil regularly, you should be checking its level even more often. Check the oil every time you fuel up at the pump. It’s good practice to always know how much oil you have in the car. It only takes a second. Simply open the hood, wipe the dipstick clean and re-insert it. The oil mark should fall between the two lines (or dots). While you’re there, check the transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant and windscreen wiper fluid. These are the things that keep your car going. When they run out, they cause costly damage. It doesn’t hurt to stay on top of it. Read your owner’s manual for the proper procedure on how to check all your fluids.
Replace air filters
The air filters in your car stops dirt from the road getting into your engine. When dirt enters the mechanics of the engine, there are all sorts of problems to be had. Keep this at bay by simply changing the air filters regularly. They are cheap and easy to replace. Think of it like a shield for your engine. Keep it clean.
Brake pads will last a fairly long time, but try to check them annually. The best practice is to have a quick look every time you rotate the tyres, since they are already removed. When brake pads wear down past their usable life, the metal backing of the brake pads will wear on the rotor…causing irreversible damage. If they’re running thin, it’s time to replace them. New brake pads are much cheaper than replacing rotors.
Practice changing a tyre
You never know when the worst will happen. No matter how many precautions you take, a tyre can burst at any moment. Make sure you can change it quickly and safely. You want to be at the side of the road for as short a time as possible. Practice with a jack once a year on your driveway. Make sure every family member knows how to do it. You might not always be with them when the worst happens. However, if the vehicle is in an unsafe location like the side of a busy highway, call for roadside assistance. Your life is not worth the risk.
Always keep a breakdown kit in the car. This should include a first aid box, a large bottle of water (for you and the car), a flashlight and some cash. It’s also worth keeping a jacket and some blankets in the car in case it’s cold. Hazard lighting and visibility items are a good idea too.
Keep it clean
Finally, make sure you keep your car clean. Keeping your windscreen, mirrors and headlamps clean will help you avoid accidents. They’ll also last longer. All elements of your car can be worn down when left dirty. Keep the paint looking brand new with regular waxing. Don’t treat the car like a dustbin. When it comes to selling your car on, the appearance will make a big difference. Buyers can tell a well-kept car when they see one and will trust the internal parts have been cared for.
The key to caring for you car is ensuring that all the moveable parts are in pristine condition. All the fluids and easily accessible areas are vital to the internal workings. Keep them in good condition and it will help the engine and other internal systems last longer. Good care of your car will save you a fortune and help keep the resale value high.