Car Care – 5 Simple Checks

Caring For Your Car – Do You?

Car TyresAlthough modern cars are pretty reliable and don’t need much attention between services, a surprising proportion of breakdowns are caused by owners failing to carry out a few basic regular checks, and could be avoided.

A good example is running out of oil. Oil levels can drop between services and running out of oil will often destroy your engine – sometimes before you can do anything about it. Yet checking the oil only takes 30 seconds and costs nothing…

We’ve put together a list of 5 simple car checks that virtually anyone can do. Doing these regularly (once a week is ideal) will reduce your chances of an avoidable breakdown and help protect your car from problems between services.

Here is our 5-minute checklist – for more detailed, illustrated instructions, just click on the title of each item.

  1. Check the engine oil: Under the bonnet, wipe the dipstick then stick it back in to get an accurate reading. The oil level should be between the maximum and minimum marks. Top up with the recommend type of oil if it’s too low.

  2. Checking the Water: While you are under the bonnet, check the water (coolant) level. When the engine is cold, it should be between the max and min marks on the coolant reservoir. Only do this with a cold engine.

  3. Windscreen Screenwash: Still under the bonnet, top up your screenwash with a mixture of water and anti-freeze. Follow the instructions on the anti-freeze bottle to work out how much to put in. Running out can be dangerous, especially in winter.

  4. Lights: Are all your lights working, or has a bulb gone? Switch them all on then walk round the car. Make sure you test indicators in both positions and get a friend to check whether your brake lights work when you press the pedal.

  5. Tyres: Check the tyre pressures and look for any signs of damage or uneven wear. Check the tread depth – the legal limit is 1.6mm but when it gets below 3mm, starting thinking about replacing them.

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