If you are new to driving a car, you’ll be joining another 1.3 million new drivers joining the UK’s roads – and you may not have the first clue on how to look after your vehicle. If you are looking for some advice on what to keep an eye on with regard to your next car, look no further than these four tips for car maintenance.
Change Your Car Oil
This is one particular check which often gets missed by motorists, and could result in especially expensive repairs as a result. Engine oil has a simple role: to ensure the lubrication of moving parts in the engine, and hence smooth running of the engine as a whole. Over time, engine oil picks up particles and debris from the engine block, getting more viscous as a result. If left unchecked, this viscous engine oil can have detrimental effects on the engine, providing limited lubrication and eventually causing the engine to seize entirely. As a rule of thumb, engine oil should be changed every 3 months – but check more often than that, to make sure you aren’t running low on oil.
Check the Tyres
Tyres are your car’s only contact with the road surface, and their relative health is crucial for your safety as a driver, let alone your fuel economy. There are a few signs which may suggest your tyres are old and becoming unsafe – sidewall cracking on the edge of the tyre, and the wearing down of the tread. The legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm minimum. In order to replace them, you can simply by a set of cheap tyres online and change them yourself – thus ensuring your car maintains grip and traction on the roads, even in slippery conditions.
Replace the Brake Pads
Brake pads are an easy thing to forget about with regard to car maintenance – at their best, they do not require replacement until they have seen 70,000 miles of use. However, this depends heavily on the way in which you use your car and could be half as much for daily inner-city drivers. Brake pad changes are a professional job, but there are things to look out for so you know when to get a service. Many modern cars come with brake sensors, which will let you know via your dash when pads need replacing. For older cars, you can simply employ the screech test: if your car screeches when braking, your brakes need replacing.
Organise Regular Check-Ups
Brake pads are just one example of many things which require seasoned professional hands to fix – and many of those things do not provide any warning before failure. As such, it is important to get your car in to a garage for a check-up on a regular basis, between MOTs. This way, engineers can test things like your timing belt, and ensure your alternator and gearbox are operating the way they should be.