5 simple maintenance tips to keep your family car safe
Do you take good care of your family car? As a vehicle you rely on for school runs, shopping trips and other family journeys, it’s vital that you keep it in top condition to make sure everyone is safe on the road.
Carrying out regular maintenance will also reduce the risk of inconvenient breakdowns and costly repairs. While there’s no need to become an expert mechanic, having some basic automotive knowhow will help you out in-between trips to the garage.
Roll up your sleeves, get your owner’s manual out and have a go at these five simple car maintenance checks.
Engine oil works to keep your engine running smoothly. Without keeping it at a minimum level, you risk causing serious damage and reducing its lifespan.
It’s quick and easy to check your oil levels by raising the bonnet, finding the dipstick and inserting it into its tube. The oil should leave a mark in-between the minimum and maximum notches – if not, top it up accordingly.
Are your tyres showing signs of being overly worn? Bare tyres provide less grip, especially on wet road surfaces. Use the 20p test to make sure they aren’t below the legal minimum tread depth of 1.66mm.
If they are, it’s not too difficult to replace a wheel yourself by using an impact driver to remove the lug nuts.
You’ll also want to keep your tyres pumped up to avoid damaging the wheels and reducing your fuel efficiency. Your owner’s manual should tell you exactly how much air the front and back tyres need.
You can check their pressure with a handheld gauge, or head to the air refill machine at your local petrol station.
Your wipers may seem like an insignificant component, but poor windscreen visibility can be enough to fail an MOT. Check the state of yours by seeing if they wipe your screen clean or leave streaks.
Wipers are relatively inexpensive and simple to replace if you need to – just follow the installation instructions that come with them.
Windscreen washer fluid
On a related note, it’s wise to keep your windscreen wash topped up too, especially in winter and on long journeys. It should be simple to locate your car’s fluid reservoir under the bonnet and top it up as required.
It’s wise to keep your spare fluid in the boot so you can top up on the move too.
A final tip is to make sure you stick to a regular servicing schedule, especially if your car is getting older. Servicing may seem like an unnecessary expense if everything seems to be running okay – but without it, small maintenance issues can quickly grow into more serious ones.
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