Maintaining your car

How to maintain your car

Once you have made a large purchase like a car, it’s important to make sure that you keep up with maintenance. This is the key to getting your money’s worth from the car itself, as well as retaining what resale value the car may have once you are finished with it.

Modern cars have up to 75,000 parts – and even a single one malfunctioning can have a drastic impact on your car, leaving you unable to use it.

Keeping your car in perfect shape is the key to keeping it safe and able to be driven for a long time.

Keep an eye on the dashboard

Most modern cars will have some form of smart dashboard, one that is capable of displaying a proper message about a fault with the vehicle. These messages can cover a wide range of topics, including issues with your brakes, engine, oil and other fluid levels, and even tyre pressure.

Keeping an eye on these messages will allow you to correc them quickly, before they become bigger and more expensive to repair.

Don’t ignore your service light

While many of us know that the service light is notorious for overdramatizing sometimes trivial problems, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As soon as the light shows, get your car checked it. It can be the difference between a couple of pounds, and thousands – especially if a small issue develops into a larger one without your knowledge.

The basics

Make sure you regularly check ‘the basics’ of the car. This includes the tyres, oil, windows, brakes, interior, and fluids. If you’re struggling, use the acronym TOWBIF.

Tyres

Ensure that your tyres are properly inflated. Don’t panic – tyre gauges are very cheap and easy to use. You should be checking the pressure of your tyres every other day.

You should also make sure that your tyres are replaced once the tread wear indicators are showing. Do this once a week.

Oil

Your car isn’t going to get very far without oil, so it’s important to check your oil properly about once a week.

You also need to make sure that the oil in your car is changed every 3,000 – 3,500 miles. Although oil manufacturers claim that their oil can last 10,000 miles, you should err on the safe side and change it no later than 5,000 miles to keep your engine healthy.

Windows

Your windows are all very important, especially when looking at your safety whilst in the car. Make sure that any windshield cracks are repaired as soon as possible before they expand and crack the windshield more.

It’s also incredibly important to keep your mirrors clean and unsmashed. If your mirrors do become chipped or cracked, replace them as soon as possible.

While it is not illegal to have broken wing mirrors, you can still be stopped by the police if they notice that either of your wing mirrors is damaged or missing.

Brakes

In order to make sure that your brakes are in working order at all times, it important to periodically replace them.

If you ever notice any problems with your brakes, take them to get checked immediately. This can be the difference between life and death.

Interior

The interior of the car is often a major selling point, should you wish to resell the car later. For this reason, it’s important to keep the interior clean and tidy.

Remember: the value of a car is held in the cabin.

Fluids

Fluids refers to a vast array of liquids that held keep your car running. They include; coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid and other fluids.

These fluids should all be checked every week, to ensure that they are well above the required levels, in order to keep your car functioning perfectly.

Lights

Your lights are relatively easy to check, but it is important that you do check them. Failure to have the correct lights working can land you with a fine, as well as points on your license.

You can check your own lights, but it is often easier to get someone to help you. Make sure you check all your lights, including the taillights, reverse lights, brake lights and turn signals.

Windshield wipers

Replacing your broken windshield wipers is often the least costly maintenance that your car requires.

You should replace your blades once a year, just before the rainy season.

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