You wouldn’t go as long as a year to get a haircut so why would you go a full year without checking your car in between services? Of course one of the most reassuring things about new cars are they need much less-frequent services to ensure they are running well however with increased service intervals often up between 15,000 and 20,000 miles, there are some checks you must do yourself to keep your car in good health for as long as possible.
First off, having your tyre pressure below the recommended PSI for your vehicle can have a negative effect on the economy of your fuel not to mention the handling of your vehicle so it’s incredibly important you drive with the correct tyre pressure. Each car manufacturer will set out the correct tyre pressure for that vehicle and this will either be outlined in your car manual, in your glove compartment or embossed on the passenger side doorjamb.
As standard, you should check your tyre pressure every two weeks, before you set off on long journeys and preferably when your tyres are cold. When it comes to tyres, you should prepare for the season and many drivers opt for a set of winter tyres for greater traction and control.
In caring for your tyres, you must also look out for cuts, bulges or lumps and your tyres must not have tears exceeding 25mm otherwise the car may fail it’s MOT. Your tyres should be replaced when they become worn beyond legal limits and if you are unsure, check in with your local garage for confirmation.
Oil is the lifeblood of your car and without it, your car isn’t going to go very far. As well as this, letting your oil levels go below the minimum puts strain on your engine meaning it is worn far quicker than it should often leading to very expensive repairs! Checking your oil levels should take no longer than 10 minutes, it should be done once a week and it is best to change your oil every 5,000 to maximise engine reliability.
Recent research suggests around 1 in 3 cars runs with less oil than it should and it is one of the most neglected elements of car ownership (it can be a very expensive mistake to forget to check).
Windows, Windscreen and Wipers
Keeping both your windows and mirrors clean is very important for your vision and general safety – as is ensuring your lights are working in optimum condition. When it comes to windscreens, these can be damaged relatively easily from pebbles, gravel and small stones thrown from vehicles in front so it’s important to keep safe distance from the vehicle in front and regularly check for cracks and damage. Small windscreen chips can often be repaired for free with certain insurance providers rather than waiting for large windscreen cracks which can be more costly).
Brakes and Battery
As part of your service and MOT, your brakes will be checked however if you notice any problems with your braking system (no matter how small you think it may be), take your car to have the brakes check immediately – it could prevent serious damage.
Your battery should be checked for corrosion around once a month and you should avoid running down the battery as much as possible – jump starts aren’t great for the battery.
Your car is worth several thousand pounds so why wouldn’t you want to show it off for all it’s worth? It’s been said that the value of your vehicle is held within the cabin and so you should keep this in tip top condition. You may be able to live without your CD player or car radio but it won’t hold much bargaining power when it comes time to sell your vehicle.
As well as the most important fluid (oil), other fluids are the lifeblood of your car. From engine coolant and power steering fluid to windscreen wash and brake fluid, all your car fluids should be checked each week to ensure the smooth running of your car.