Here’s the Carzone.ie guide to easy car maintenance
While we’d stop short of advising our readers to do all their car servicing for themselves, there are loads of items of car maintenance that we all should be regularly doing for ourselves. They’re not difficult and they ensure your car is safe and roadworthy at all times. Plus, it could save you a fortune in preventing much larger issues further down the line.
Try to get into the habit of regularly checking your tyre pressures. The easiest time and place to do this is while filling the car up with fuel, as virtually all garages have tyre inflation equipment with clear read-outs for the pressure. You’ll find a label on your car (usually within a door frame, but sometimes on the back of the fuel filler flap) telling you the correct pressures. And while you’re walking around the car doing this, it’s well worth casting an eye over the tyre surfaces to ensure they are undamaged, that there is plenty of tread left and that they are not wearing unevenly. Tyre condition is crucial to safety in terms of stopping, expelling water and going around corners, not to mention withstanding higher speeds without failing. However, tyre pressures are important too. Too high and the tyres don’t work as they are supposed to; too low and fuel economy will be worse.
Some modern cars tell their driver when a bulb has blown, but most older ones do not, so take a few minutes every now and then to walk around the car and check that all the lights are working. Cycle through the indicators, dipped beam and high beam headlights and parking lights. Make sure you don’t forget the lights over the rear number plate and your fog lights. Finally, unless you have someone helping you out, you’ll have to place the rear of the car against something reflective to ensure you can see if the brake lights are working. They’re very important to help prevent a rear-end collision. Petrol stations carry a wide selection of replacement bulbs so there’s no excuse for not fixing them as soon as you discover one blown and most of the time it’s possible to do so without tools.
If your wipers are noisy or they leave streaks, or there are bits falling off, it’s time to replace them. You’ll need to pop into a motor factors or order a replacement set online. Some motor factors will change them for you, though it really isn’t very difficult. Keep an eye on the rear wiper if your car has one too.
Under the bonnet
Don’t be afraid to pop the bonnet of your car open and have a look inside (when it’s not running, ideally). Any leaks should be immediately obvious, and you should bring the car to a good mechanic if you suspect there is one. That aside, you should regularly check your oil level using the dipstick (take it out, clean it, then put it back in to get the level – and always be parked on flat, even ground beforehand) and top up if necessary – using a grade of oil recommended for your car’s engine. Ensure your windscreen washer bottle is topped up, too and it’s worth glancing at the brake fluid reservoir as well occasionally. Do not touch or open the radiator and coolant system if the engine is hot, but do check its level from time to time.