If you’re not a trained professional, the thought of your car breaking down and the potential repairs that may come with it can be daunting.
You don’t have to be a mechanic to properly take care of your vehicle and perform basic car maintenance jobs! Did you know, failing to properly look after your vehicle can be costly and very time-consuming. Small issues that can easily be ignored, or botched repairs and car servicing will eventually lead to expensive and potentially dangerous situations! With this in mind, here are five common car maintenance mistakes you should avoid making.
1. Neglecting your car tyres
Tyres are often one of the first things ignored by car owners. Just because you look over your tyres to ensure they aren’t flat, doesn’t mean it is enough! There are a number of variables to consider including the tread and air pressure, which are equally vital in ensuring your tyres are safe and usable!
If your tyre pressure is low, your chances of having your tyre blow are dramatically increased! Not to mention it is far more economical on fuel consumption to have properly inflated tyres. It is therefore crucially important that drivers check tyre pressure at least once per month, ideally before driving when the tyres are likely to be cool.
Tyre tread is another very important thing to keep a note of. Failing to notice your tyres have gone bald is very bad practice but is also potentially illegal and could land you a fine and points on your license! To ensure your tyre tread is road legal, simply insert a 20p piece into the grooves. If part of the outer band of the coin remains visible, your tyre tread doesn’t meet the 1.6mm legal minimum and the tyre will need to be replaced as soon as possible. Aside from breaking the law, failing to correctly maintain your tyres can also be highly dangerous. With greatly reduced traction, a vehicle with bald tyres is far more prone to aquaplaning and increased stopping distances.
2. Skipping fluid checks and oil changes
Although very easy to forget, keeping on top of routine fluid checks and oil changes is a key part of car ownership. As a rule of thumb, the oil in your car should be changed every 3,000 miles.
Keeping on top of your regular oil changes can also give a trained technician the opportunity to check the other important fluids which may not be included as part of a general service. These include the levels of engine coolant in your engine and transmission fluid. While regular oil changes and fluid checks can seem like an unnecessary expense at the time, ensuring they remain properly monitored and maintained can save you thousands of pounds in the long run.
3. Not knowing your car
Although glaringly obvious, failing to understand the basics of looking after your car and not knowing the specifics of your car is a typical mistake many car owners make.
Ensure you know the basics including how to open your bonnet, dipstick, tyre pressure and reading your owners manual!
The ability to undertake simple vehicle maintenance tasks such as changing flat tyres and correctly jumpstarting a car is also vital in keeping your vehicle in the best condition possible and saving you money in the process.
4. Putting off easy jobs
Similarly, while relatively simple repairs and jobs – such as replacing worn windscreen wipers, changing broken light bulbs and keeping your car’s bodywork and number plates clean and dirt-free – may represent the less glamorous side of car ownership, these are vital maintenance jobs that should not be avoided.
Windscreen wipers and light bulbs are essential safety features and incredibly cheap and easy for even a novice driver to replace. For example, when you notice that your wiper blades are starting to show signs of wear and tear they should be replaced as soon as possible. As a rule, this will tend to be every six months or so.
5. Continuing to drive when you know there is a problem
When money is tight, it can be tempting to drive through small issues that you think you can ignore (even dashboard warning lights) especially when your car seems to be functioning normally. However, this is always a bad idea and should be avoided at all cost!
Whether a warning light is telling you that your oil levels are low or your engine is overheating, powering on through and hoping for the best is not a solution.
If you have any doubts or issues with your car, give us a ring to book your car in!