Car Servicing Checklist for a Hassle Free Drive: 10 Simple Car Maintenance Tips
As someone who uses my car every day, the thought of it breaking down or having problems that would stop me from using it seriously concerns me! I am just so reliant on my car for getting myself & the kids to different places. With this in mind, I have been thinking about how to prevent such breakdowns from occurring. For me, there are two obvious ways…
Firstly, keeping on top of your car manufacturer’s service plan. I always take my car in for its annual service & actually pay for a monthly service plan so I don’t get sprung with an enormous bill.
Secondly, carrying out your own simple car maintenance checks. Below I have complied a car servicing checklist, listing 10 simple checks you can make to help you save money, stay safe & ensure a hassle free drive:
Are your car tyres safe? Our tyres are the only part of our car actually connecting us to the road. Our safety when accelerating, cornering, braking & steering are reliant on these small areas of road contact. Therefore it is vital that our tyres conditions are regularly monitored and maintained. Every couple of weeks you should be checking your tyre pressure & condition, including your spare. Make sure there are no cuts & that your tread is within the legal limit. If you need a professional opinion, visit Calmac Tyres, Northampton for tyres and vehicle servicing.
2. Engine Oil
Engine oil cools & lubricates the engine so driving with low levels can cause problems. Every couple of weeks, check your oil level. Locate the dipstick, pull it out, wipe it clean then push it all the way back in again. Withdraw it once again & check the end of the stick for the lines which indicate the ideal range of engine oil. If it doesn’t pass the first line, top up the oil. It’s also a good idea to check oil levels before making a long journey.
3. Windscreen Wipers
When caught in the rain whilst driving, we rely on our wipers to clear the windscreen & improve our visibility. Damaged wiper blades do not work properly & won’t give you a clear view of the road. It only takes a moment to lift your windscreen wipers & check for any damage or debris. Also, if you want to prevent smearing, it’s a good idea to replace your windscreen wipers (or the rubber refills) about once a year.
4. Screen wash
Washer fluid is exceedingly important as, whatever the weather, it helps you continue your car journey. In the winter it gets rid of more rain, slush & dirt. In the summer, it increases visibility from sun dazzle by removing dust, dirt & dead insects from your screen. Therefore it is vital to keep it topped up whatever the season. It is also important to choose a screen wash additive that prevents freezing as, by law, your screen wash system must always work. Locate the screen wash reservoir & add in the fluid when needed.
5. Coolant Level (Antifreeze)
A lack of coolant (or antifreeze) can cause our car engines to overheat, causing serious problems. To prevent this, when your engine is cold, visually check your coolant level is between the MIN & MAX lines. It’s worth doing this at least once a week. If the level is low, top up with a recommended coolant mixed with water.
Your windscreen is more than just a shield against wind & rain. A clear windscreen is essential for visibility & contributes towards the strength of your car. Stones hitting your car can damage & chip your windscreen, so if you notice any, its a good idea to get them repaired as soon as possible. If left, the chips can grow & crack resulting in having to replace your entire windscreen.
7. Power Steering
Should your power steering fail unexpectedly, your car will become much harder to control, potentially putting you in a dangerous situation. Your hydraulic levels should be checked & filled whenever your car goes in for a service. However, it’s still a good idea to check levels once a month & top up if need be. Your power steering fluid reservoir should be clearly labelled & uses a similar dipstick method as engine oil.
Vital for visibility, regularly check all of your lights are working – including headlights, reverse lights, brake lights, indicators & fog lights – at least once a week. You can do this by leaving the car running & walking around your vehicle. Replace any blown bulbs & check for any cracks or dirt.
Check your car exterior for any dents, scratches or signs of rust. Repair any damage to bodywork as soon as possible to prevent rust setting in.
Vital for roadside tyre changes, a toolkit should be kept in your car. Your vehicle’s handbook should tell you where it is located. At the very least, your toolkit should contain a jack & wheel removal tools. If your wheels have wheel locking nuts fitted, ensure your kit also contains a tool to remove these.
As a final note, remember to record all of your hard work in a vehicle maintenance log. There are plenty of smartphone apps out there to use or just scribble it down in a notebook that you keep in your glove box. Either way, keeping track of basic car maintenance & any repairs will give you & any professionals a clearer picture of your vehicle’s health.
NB: Always consult your vehicle’s owner manual for maintenance guidelines specific to your vehicle. The recommendations within this post are GENERAL guidelines
** Car Servicing Checklist for a Hassle Free Drive: 10 Simple Car Maintenance Tips is a collaborative post