With less than 1 hour a month, you can maintain your safe such that driving is not only much safer for you, but such that you also protect and help to avoid unnecessary break down time and costs. Below are five simple to follow tips which I hope will help you:
1. Tyre Checks
One of the most overlooked and yet simplest measures for maintaining your vehicle is to do regular tyre checks. Most petrol stations have a air pump facility for checking your the PSI air pressure on your tyres and for re-flatig your the air pressure in your tyres. Driving with under inflated tyres can be extremely dangerous!
You also though need to check the condition of the tyres themselves. They will be checked in the MOT but if you drive a lot of miles each month (particularly if you regularly do long distances), it is worth checking the tyres because much like under inflated tyres, badly worn tyres are also a serious danger when driving. The video below gives you a guide to using a 20 pence piece for testing the tyres tread.
2. Changing your Windscreen Wipers
It is absolutely essential that you also have fully functioning windscreen wipers. In poor weather having a set of wipers which work effectively is key to safe driving and a new set of wipers are extremely easy to fit and inexpensive i.e. an average set need only cost you around £15 – 20. After 5 years or so you can often expect the wipers to need replacing. Do make sure though to purchase the correct wipers designed for the specific make and model of your car.
3. Check and Change the Oil
How to Check Oil Level
A task which takes only 5 minutes each time and yet really should be done regularly is to check the oil level in your vehicle. Oil is extremely important if you want to correctly maintain your car because this oil acts to help keep all of the working parts of the engine working smoothly and in good condition. The video above provides a demo on how to check the oil. Just though to re-iterate some key points. Make sure to check the oil when your car is on a flat surface i.e. a flat road so that you are getting an accurate reading of the oil level. It might seem obvious to you to say but I have seen some people also try and check their oil after they have just driven and when the engine is hot. Make sure to check the oil before using your car or when the engine is cool.
4. Check the Engine Coolant
Checking the engine coolant can be done at the same time as you oil level checks and easily checked in two minutes. The coolant is often a green or pink liquid and from your user manual you will be able to identify where to find this section under your bonnet. You will see lines marked ‘low’ and ‘full’. Make sure the coolant level is between these two points and checked whilst the car is on a flat surface. Also make sure to add the coolant when the car is cool. If you attempt to add coolant and the level rises but then soon drops, you have a leak!
5. Air Filter Checks
It is not uncommon also for the air filter to block up and the ultimate result is that you could find yourself with an expensive bill, if the dirty air eventually results in poor engine performance. Just like with most filters, it is extremely easy to check, once you know where to find it. Simply by holding the filter up to the light, you will be able to see any dirt which can be cleaned off.
The above tasks need not take more than 30 minutes a month and will make your car less likely to need to repair and even more importantly, you will be in a much safer vehicle than if these checks are not done.