When it comes to looking after your car, it’s worth regularly putting in a little bit of time and effort to check that everything is in order, as this will help everything to run smoothly and can also prevent you needing to make more expensive repairs that could have been prevented.
Read on to find out five things you should check at least once a month, or even more frequently if you have an older vehicle or put in a lot of mileage regularly.
Your lights always need to be in working order, including fog lights and hazards. You can be pulled over if you have a blown bulb, and it’s important that you’re able to communicate effectively with other road users.
Often when your indicators start to die, they start to go faster, but there is no such indication if a headlight goes, so it’s well worth checking them regularly.
A genuine Volkswagen parts dealer told us: “It’s absolutely no fun getting stuck behind a lorry on the motorway and discovering you’ve run out of screen wash, so check and top yours up regularly.
“Make sure that when you are topping it up you use the correct concentration for the weather conditions, and never use washing up liquid as it produces too much foam.”
This simple task is an extremely important one, as running out of oil can cause your engine to seize up. You should check it monthly, or even a little more frequently if you have an older car.
Simply pull the oil dipstick out and clean it, then reinsert it and pull it out again. This will show you your level, and if it is low you will need to top up your oil.
If you find that you are needing to top up regularly, you may have a leak and it’s worth taking your vehicle to a garage to be checked over.
If the oil in your car is black and thick you will need to change the oil, which can be done at a garage, or you can teach yourself to do it and save some money. Check out this guide from Family Handy Man.
It’s important that your tires are not over or under-inflated, as this can affect how well they handle, and also cause your tires to wear out more quickly.
Check the tire pressure using a pressure gauge. You can buy these to keep in your glove box, or at many petrol stations, although some charge for this. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended PSI if you need to add air.
It’s illegal to drive on tires that do not have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, so you should check your tire tread regularly to make sure it does not get too close to this.
It is also important for your own safety, as tires without enough tread can lose traction particularly in wet conditions.
You can buy a tread depth gauge cheaply, or even use a 20p coin, as explained in this article from RAC.