Whether you are a true petrolhead or simply someone who uses their car to get from A to B, the facts are usually the same. If you fail to look after your vehicle, it will let you down in return and usually when you really need it the most. But not all of us have the time or the spare funds to pay for a full service every six months or so. Other than big jobs such as car body repairs there are many fundamental maintenance jobs that you can do yourself. We’ll look at these now and offer a few tips along the way.
When you have 20 minutes free on the weekend, you should take a closer look at your vehicle and check the following details:
- Coolant level – Ensure that the engine is cold before you remove the filler cap, and then you should then check the overall level. If this is low, always use a recommended coolant and top it up. You should also check for leaks and once you have refilled the expansion tank, start the engine up to allow the coolant to circulate for about five minutes.
- Tyres – The tread needs to be a minimum of 1.6 mm deep and check that the tyres have the correct amount of psi. The service manual will tell you the exact specifications.
- Oil level – Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and reinsert before checking the levels. If your engine oil is low, you could risk causing permanent damage to the engine. Always use the recommended grade of oil and let the engine run for about five minutes to work it through the system.
These are the most important part of your car and they need to be checked regularly. A decent set of pads and discs can last for over 20,000 miles but only if you drive sensibly. Remove the wheel to check the actual condition of your pads and brakes. If you feel as if the car is not stopping effectively, take your car to the garage for a second opinion.
If you feel as if the engine is behaving a little unusually, take a look at your warning lights to see if any codes are being displayed. Modern engines do not need a lot of attention but when they start to have issues, the ECU will usually let you know exactly what the problem is. You can actually buy a decoder for not a lot of money and this will point out the exact detail that requires attention.
If your car is in decent condition and one day you notice a nasty dent, it can really ruin your good mood. Fortunately there are some really good professional dent removers that can make the blemish disappear. Many of these run a mobile service and they can usually come out on the same day that you call them. With a few clever suction pads and a little expert tapping, your panel will soon be as good as new. You can sometimes get this service free if you chose a decent insurance policy.
Keep it clean
You might believe that driving your car through a fancy car wash a few times a month is all that it takes, but think again. Despite what the garage owner may say, those flailing brushes actually do far more damage to your paintwork than good. They create a swirl in your paintwork and after a few years of this continued abuse, the visible evidence is there for all to see. Always use a bucket and sponge or a jet wash instead, it takes a little longer but the results are worth it, and you might lose a few pounds into the bargain.