Routine Car Maintenance – Saving You Money
For some people, lifting the hood of a car and doing some basic maintenance can be a confusing and daunting task – but basic maintenance on your vehicle is something that every car owner should be doing to their vehicle and it could even save you money in the long term.
Carrying out regular checks on your vehicle is something that every driver should be doing on a weekly basis (even if you have a brand-new car) and if you catch a problem early, you can be saving yourself some money.
Items that you should be checking weekly in your vehicle are:
- Windscreen wipers
- Coolant levels
- Engine oil levels
Tyres are one of the most necessary things on your car – without them we aren’t going anywhere too quickly! The pressure in your tyres need to be checked to ensure that excessive wear is not caused to the tread of the tyre. If the tread of your tyre is too low, you will have less control of your car when it is raining as the tread helps remove water between the tyre and the road.
It is important to check that all exterior lights are working correctly. The lights that need to be checked are headlights, taillight, brake lights and your indicators and the best time to check all your lights function properly is at night so that all lights can be seen correctly. Also, ensure that the lights that illuminate your numbers plates work as all Australian states and territories issue fines for number plate lights not working correctly.
There are many factors that contribute to the deterioration of your cars windscreen wipers. Sun, oil, airborne debris, and moisture all contribute to the breakdown of your wiper blade. Tasks such as cleaning your windscreen every time you stop for petrol to remove any dirt build up on glass and gently wiping down the blades with a damp paper towel can prolong the life of your blades. If your windscreen wipes smear or constantly leave streaks of water when you use them, it’s a sign that it’s time they get replaced.
Also ensure that the washers operate correctly and there is enough water in the reservoir to spray out onto your windscreen.
The radiator in your vehicle needs coolant to function and without coolant your vehicle can overheat, causing damage to your vehicle engine. The easiest way to check your coolant level is to locate the tank that the coolant is in and make sure that any coolant in the tank is above the line marked minimum. If the coolant needs to be topped up, never do it when the engine is hot. Taking the cap off the coolant tank when the engine is hot will release pressurised steam that can seriously burn you. Make sure your car engine is cool and on a flat, level surface.
Engine Oil Levels
Checking your engine oil is essential as the oil lubricates the engines internal moving parts. To check the oil level, remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Push the dipstick all the way in, take it out again and check the level. The oil should be between the two marks – not above the top mark and not below the bottom mark. If required, you can add some more oil through the oil filler cap, just refer to your vehicle manual to ensure you’re putting the right oil into your car.
If you are unsure about any part of your car or you feel that something needs to be fixed, go and have your car serviced. A full service should be carried out at least once a year by a certified mechanic.