Keeping your car regularly maintained is not only essential in ensuring that remains roadworthy and safe to drive but can also help over the long term to reduce your repair and breakdown costs as well as helping to maintain fuel efficiency.
While it is strongly advised that you have your car serviced regularly, there are a few checks and maintenance tasks that can be done yourself to help keep your annual running and repair costs down. It is recommended that you check your motor vehicle on a regular basis, at least fortnightly or every 500 miles, and also before undertaking any long journeys.
While car maintenance can sometimes seem a little intimidating some of the visual checks require no real in-depth knowledge of car maintenance and provided you have your manufacturer’s handbook, you should be able to find everything there after you open the bonnet. Here are some of the simple car checks you can run through:
Check the engine oil level, check your engine’s coolant level, check the brake fluid level, and check the screen wash level. There are also some simple visual checks that can be done on the outside of your vehicle. These include checking the windscreen wipers are clean and washer jets are unclogged, and also checking windscreen for chips and cracks.
Other checks include checking your tyre treads and tyre pressure. This last part should also include checking the pressure on your spare tyre. Other checks include the lights and the bodywork – inspecting the exterior of the car and bumper for any damage.
But if car maintenance is not something you want to tackle yourself, then there are a three main service options available for your car including an oil change service, interim service and full service.
An oil change service should be done once every year or between every five thousand to ten thousand miles driven in your car. Oil is of course crucial to your car’s engine, it lubricates and protects the engine’s internal components by reducing friction between the moving parts and washes away any dirt and metal particles. The oil is then cleaned as it passes through the engine oil filter.
Over time the oil and filter can become blocked with dirt and other particles which might cause increased wear and tear within the engine. A good car service will include the best grade and quality of engine oil and oil filter required by your vehicles manufacturer. A typical oil change schedule will include replacing the engine oil, replacing the oil filter, checking the tyre treads and air pressures, checking the exhaust, checking the brakes, lights, windscreen and wipers.
An interim service is recommended for cars that cover more miles to maintain vehicle safety and reliability with a service scheduled every 6 months or around six thousand miles. This is a more comprehensive service than an oil change service and includes replacing the air filter, topping up essential fluids and additional vehicle checks.
A typical interim car service may include replacing engine oil, replacing the oil filter, changing the air filter, checking brake fluids, testing car emissions, checking tyre treads and pressures, checking the windscreen washers. An interim service will also include checking the exhaust, checking the suspension, handbrake and car battery.
By sticking to a regular car servicing schedule you can help to extend the life of your vehicle, and maintain the car’s performance as well as road safety. The benefits of regular servicing over the longer term include improved fuel efficiency, a reduction in the cost of breakdowns and repairs, as well as making sure your car spends as little time off the road as possible.