Five Essential Vehicle Maintenance Tips
Regular essential maintenance should be carried out on your vehicle to keep it in good condition. Follow these tips to prolong the life of your vehicle, ensure the safety of all passengers and save on expensive repairs.
Check your oil regularly (about once a month) and always before long journeys. Too little oil could result in your engine seizing up or even cause it to blow up. Keeping an eye on levels will prevent you from having to pay for an expensive engine rebuild.
Park your vehicle on a flat area of ground, remove the dipstick, wipe clean and take a reading from the second insertion. If the oil doesn’t come up to the markers on the dipstick, you will have to add more.
Also check the colour of your oil, as dirty oil can damage your engine. In a diesel engine, the oil will immediately go black, but a petrol engine’s oil will slowly darken over time.
A regular tyre inspection will save you money and could save your life. Hand-held tyre pressure gauges are inexpensive and a good way to check your tyre pressure at home. Running a vehicle on flat tyres results in inefficient use of fuel, and could damage the wheel rims.
Check your vehicle’s manual as tyre pressures differ from car to car. For example, double cab pickup trucks will require different tyre pressures to saloon cars. Incorrectly inflated tyres can cause your vehicle to pull to one side while braking. Also check the depth of your tyres’ tread to avoid an accident. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm.
Check your lights before every journey to avoid an accident or fine. If you don’t have anyone to check your brake lights, reverse your car up to a flat surface like a wall or garage door and check in your rear view mirror for the reflection. Bulbs are simple to replace, so keep a few spares handy in case one of them fails.
The hydraulic fluid in your brakes needs to be checked regularly to ensure your safety. You can top up your brake fluid on some vehicles, but if the fluid level consistently drops, the cause should be immediately investigated. It is recommended to change your brake fluid every 1-2 years.
While driving, listen to the sound of your brakes for signs of brake-pad wear. If they become very noisy, the pad may have worn down completely and you may be rubbing metal on metal, which could result the brake discs having to be machined.
Check and top-up coolant levels often to prevent your vehicle’s engine from overheating. Transmission fluids, screen wash and power steering fluids will also need to be periodically topped up or changed.
Following these essential maintenance tips will prolong the life of your vehicle and ensure that it functions safely and correctly. Always consult the vehicle’s manual or refer to a professional before undertaking any repairs.