Routine Car Maintenance

Featured in the June 2009 handbook.

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- Your Car Is Not Safe Unless You Carry Out These Simple Checks

There is not one car owner who hasn’t at some point said, “I don’t know what I’d do without my car”. Let’s be honest,

we rely on our cars too much, yet we tend to neglect them so much. Routine car maintenance and repairs will ensure that your car is in good running order. This will minimise the risk of a breakdown when you least expect it, and reduce car repair bills.

Get That Bonnet Open!

Checking the engine oil regularly is a quick, simple and most important job, so do it once a month. With oil, it is essential you do not run out, or even run low. If the oil runs out, then it will mix with the water in the radiator, over heat, and could blow the head gasket. The bill for this will be huge. To check your level locate the dip stick (see your manual if you aren’t sure where it is), wipe it with an old cloth, then re-dip for an accurate reading. The level should be between the MIN and MAX marker. You need to top up if

it is reading near to MIN. There are many oils to choose from on the market so make sure you get the right one for your engine.

While you’ve got the bonnet open you should check that there is enough engine coolant in the radiator. An insufficient level of water and anti-freeze in the cooling system will lead to the engine overheating, again this will impact heavily on your wallet. Locate the plastic container, aka the expansion tank, in the engine. It should be clearly marked with the word ‘water’ or with the water symbol. The tank is transparent so you can see where the water

level is. If it isn't at the maximum level then add a mixture of one-third anti-freeze to two-thirds water. “Before closing the bonnet, check that your windscreen washer fluid is topped up. You never know what is going to hit your

windscreen and impair your vision, in fact it is illegal to have an empty container. Fill it up with a mixture of water and

screen wash. Screen wash contains an anti-freeze element so more is required in the winter and less in the summer.

Get Down On The Floor!

Check the pressure of your tyres at least once a month. Most garages provide a free tyre pressure gauge or you can

buy your own. Refer to your manual for the correct pressure. Driving with worn tyres means you are in breach of your insurance policy and could be penalised. The legal minimum depth of tread depends on the class of vehicle.

If you are like me take it to a garage regularly and get it serviced and all these checks will be done there.

Get Scrubbing!

Now that you have worked hard on the particulars, take your car for a good wash and wax to protect the paint work.


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