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Car Maintenance Tips For Dummies

It's Hard To Know Where To Start When It Comes To Looking After Your Car - Especially If You've Never Done It Before! Here Are Our Top Tips.

Jun 06, 2014

Car Maintenance Tips For Dummies

When you buy a car you take on the responsibility of making sure your car is maintained. As well as ensuring your vehicle is safe to drive on the road, regular maintenance can extend the life of your car and help you to avoid breakdowns and expensive repair bills.

Of course, not everyone is a mechanic or trained in vehicle maintenance. However, there are a number of simple car maintenance jobs that you can do yourself. Here are five easy ways that you can keep your car roadworthy and save money on repairs.

Checking and filling up your oil

Checking your oil level is an easy job that you should do on a regular basis. When the engine is completely cool and parked on flat ground, open the bonnet and pull out your dipstick. Wipe off the excess oil, replace it and then pull it back out. Your oil level should be between the minimum and maximum marks on the metal.

If the oil level is too low, find out exactly what type of oil should go in your car and top it up. You can normally find this information in your handbook or online. Once you’ve topped up the oil, check the level again to make sure it is correct.

Changing your wiper blades

Changing your wiper blades is easy and doing this job yourself means you don’t have to pay a garage or mechanic to do it for you. Wiper blades should ideally be changed annually, and doing it just before the British winter is advisable.

Turn your ignition off when the blades are vertical as this makes them easier to access. Pull the wipers away from the windscreen until they lock in the service position and then it’s easy to slide off the existing blade and click in a new one.

Even cleaning your wiper blades once a month with a clean rag and some windscreen washer fluid can help your wipers last longer and work better.

Checking your engine coolant

Engine coolant is a mixture of water and anti-freeze and helps keep your car’s engine from overheating. Checking it regularly can avoid serious damage to your engine.

To check your coolant level, wait until the engine is cold. Find the engine coolant reservoir (your handbook will show you where it is). Check the level is between the minimum and maximum marks and, if it is too low, add extra fluid to the ‘maximum’ mark. Don’t forget to replace the cap.

Checking your tyres

You should check your car tyres regularly. Not only are defective tyres highly dangerous but if the police stop you, you can be fined and given penalty points.

Low tyre pressure increases your fuel consumption and can shorten the life of your tyre. Check your tyre pressure once a week at your local garage. The correct tyre pressure for your car will be listed in your handbook.

You should also inspect your tyres regularly to look for any visible damage.

Check your windscreen

Chips or cracks in your windscreen can mean your car fails its MOT and you may have to pay for a brand new windscreen.

A small chip on your windscreen can lead to a large crack if you do not get it repaired quickly. So, check your windscreen regularly for small chips and get these dealt with by an expert. There are lots of glass repair services which specialise in fixing cracked or chipped windscreens.

Often, repairs to your windscreen will be covered for free under your car insurance policy and the glass repair service will deal with your insurance company so you don’t have to.

Never leave it too late for a windscreen repair. If your chip turns into a crack you may need a whole new windscreen and you may have to foot the bill for this.

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