When it comes to servicing your car, sometimes it can be tempting to put it off, as you don’t want to find out that your vehicle needs loads of maintenance! And unlike an MOT, your car doesn’t technically need to be serviced in order to be considered roadworthy. But if you make sure that your car stays in good condition, expensive mechanic bills should be less of an issue.
So what can you do in order to prevent costly MOT and service bills? While the tips below are pretty simple, it’s easy to forget to perform these checks. Especially if your vehicle seems to be running fine! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Unfortunately cars aren’t that straightforward, and you do need to regularly check them over.
We’ve outlined the top three things you can do in order to keep your car in the best possible condition below. Hopefully, if you stay on top of these things, you can save yourself some money in the long run!
1. Check Your Oil and Coolant
In order to pass your driving test, you had to be able to demonstrate that you could check your oil and engine coolant, and for good reason! It’s essential that you keep these liquid levels within the acceptable limits, as they play a large part in keeping your engine running smoothly. The engine of a car obviously has a lot of moving parts, which will endure heat and friction when the engine’s running. In order to counteract this, oil and engine coolant are needed.
Essentially, you can help prevent serious engine damage, simply by being vigilant about the levels of engine coolant and oil in the car. Modern vehicles should have filling levels marked clearly, on the coolant tank and oil stick, so it’s easy to know when the vehicle is running low on either of these liquids. They’re very simple to source too – just about every motoring retailer, such as Halfords, will be able to supply you with oil and engine coolant, and so will many garages.
2. Regularly Check Your Tyres
We did warn you that these tips were simple! Checking your tyres is something that is often overlooked though, despite the fact that you could be fined and get points on your licence if your tyres are below the minimum threshold. More modern cars will let you know if the air pressure in your tyres is low, but you’ll still need to check the tread for yourself.
In terms of tyre pressure, there are machines you can purchase that will both check the pressure and pump up your tyres. These aren’t that expensive, and can come in handy when you realise your tyre pressure is low! You can also pump up your tyres at most petrol stations, and anywhere that sells tyres. Making sure your tyres are at the right pressure can increase their lifespan, and will improve your overall driving performance.
To test the tread of your tyres, which is the groove in the tyre that helps it grip the road surface, you can use a 20 pence piece. Just place the coin into the tyre tread, and check whether you can see the outer band of the coin. If it is visible, this means that your tyre tread is not deep enough, and you’ll need to get it replaced.
3. Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs
If you see a flashing light on your dashboard, you might not know what it means. The truth is, most of us have to Google that sort of thing, to make sure we’re absolutely positive about what the light indicates! It is a good idea to learn what the lights in your own vehicle mean though, so that you won’t get caught out next time. The warning lights on your dashboard may include:
- Check engine light
- Service engine light
- Electrical fault light
- Brake warning light
- Coolant warning light
- Oil warning light
- Anti-lock braking systems light
And if you do notice a light, don’t ignore it and hope it goes away. While there is a chance that your car is being overly sensitive, or that there is a fault with the bulb rather than the corresponding part of the vehicle, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take your vehicle into your garage and ask them to have a look over the car, to make sure that there are no issues. If you catch them early on, they are likely to be cheaper to fix than later down the road.
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