By taking a little time for some essential car maintenance, you can keep your vehicle on the road for longer. You can also lower the chance of mechanical failure or breakdown while you’re on the road. A little preventative maintenance at a time that suits you can save a lot of time waiting for a tow and cash in potentially expensive repairs.
Here are five essential car maintenance tips to help you do just that.
1. Check fluids
Regularly checking oil, water, screen wash, brake fluid and radiator levels is a quick but very important car maintenance task. All are clearly marked within the engine bay and all have max fill markers. If you’re unsure, check the vehicle booklet to identify exactly what goes where.
Keeping your fluids topped up is an essential task that ensures the car has everything it needs to function efficiently. Just make sure to use the right type of fluid for each. Your car owner’s manual will tell you what to use.
2. Check tyres
Tyre condition, wear and pressure are the three things you need to check here. Check for tears, cracks and debris in the sidewall and tread. Check for wear by looking at how deep the tread is. If it looks shallow, have them professionally checked.
Next check tire pressure. Each tire should tell you on the side the ideal pressure in PSI. Make sure to keep the tires around this pressure ensuring each side at the front and rear are as close in pressure as possible.
3. Play nicely
If you have a petrol car, don’t rev it immediately after starting as it will damage it. If you drive a diesel, wait until the coil light goes out before starting the engine. Remember that the red-line is not a target but a maximum safe rev limit. Use gears sensibly to avoid causing excessive wear on the engine.
Cold engines need a few seconds to get the oil moving before driving off. For maximum engine care, give the engine 20-30 seconds after starting from cold before revving it. This gives the oil enough time to get from the sump where it sits to every part of the engine.
4. Keep it clean
A tidy car means a tidy mind, or something like that. Keeping your car clean helps reduce corrosion, removes acidic bird droppings before it damages paintwork and makes sure you can see clearly out of the windows. While it may not seem like it, keeping a car clean and waxed is a very useful car maintenance tip.
As we live on a small island, rust from the salt water and droppings from gulls are a constant challenge, even if you live inland. Cleaning your car regularly will help counteract this.
5. Keep to the service schedule
Our final car maintenance tip is to stick to the car maintenance schedule as much as practical. Not the one the dealership gave you when you bought the car, but the one the manufacturer provided in the handbook.
The manufacturer knows best, so follow their service schedule as much as you can. A timely belt change before it fails can save a breakdown and thousands of Euros in repairs. It’s a small price to pay!