While a lot of people own a car, many don’t even know the most basic of checks that ensure its safe running. If you treat your car well, it is much more likely to live a long and happy life. Of course, major problems should be referred to qualified mechanics, but you should also know a few basic things you can do yourself whether you are new to driving or not. Every time you bring it into the garage, it’s likely to cost you a huge amount.
Here are a few handy hints to keep your car healthier for longer.
Check the Fluid Levels
You should try to check the oil at least once every two weeks, and certainly before the start of any long journey. Before performing this check, make sure the engine is cool by leaving your car to stand for at least 15 minutes, but longer if possible. Open up the hood and remove the oil dipstick. Use an old rag or cloth to wipe it down, before re inserting the dipstick back into its original position. Remove it once again to make sure the amount of oil is clearly between the acceptable level markers. Top up your car as necessary. Ask if you need any extra advice when you book an MOT. Also, check other fluid levels including the brake fluid, power steering, coolant and windscreen washer fluid. All of these should be fairly straightforward to check and the markings will be clear.
Another thing you need to check on a biweekly basis, tyre pressure has a major impact on the overall performance of your vehicle. Low pressure can make your car more difficult to control, while it will also decrease the fuel efficiency so you will find yourself heading back to the petrol station more times than you need to. Most people check the pressure when they have gone to fill up, but you can also buy devices so that you can check it yourself. At the station, unscrew the cap on your tyre and place the nozzle of the monitor over the top of it. Set the screen to the correct pressure based on what is indicated in your user’s manual and let the pump fill the tyres to the correct level. Remember, the pressure should be adjusted based on how much weight you are carrying in the car.
Check Your Brakes
Every 10,000 miles or so, you should have your brakes checked by a professional but there are one or two things you can do yourself. Be aware if the brake pedal seems to lack firmness or goes down too low to the floor when you press it. This could be a sign that the fluid levels have gotten low or are leaking. If there is any shaking or vibrations, this could be a sign that your brake pads are wearing thin. If you head a sound of metal on metal, this can be even more serious so you should make sure to take your car into a mechanic as soon as possible. Also, check your handbrake by seeing how it performs on an incline.