Whether you see your car as your pride and joy, or simply something that gets you from A to B, it’s a good idea to take good care of your vehicle to ensure that it remains problem free for as long as possible. When considering how to care for your car, there are many ways to make sure that it’s always in tip-top condition and working perfectly. This will not only prevent your car from looking a little worse for wear but will also avoid expensive repair costs later on down the line. This article is for anyone in need of a little helping hand in the car care department – stick with us to discover just how easy it is to keep your car ticking over nicely.
How To Care For Your Car
If you’re not sure where to begin, not to worry – we’ve compiled a list of 12 ways to keep on top of your car’s health. You don’t have to be a petrolhead or car technician to care for your car properly; by carrying out these simple checks and knowing what to keep an eye on, you’ll be doing your car (and your bank account) a massive favour!
1. Know Your Warning Lights
This may seem like an easy one, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t know what their warning lights mean – or simply ignore them! Once an icon begins to flash on your dashboard, you need to identify the root cause promptly to avoid a larger problem from occurring. For example, your car may be warning you that there is an issue with a tyre. If ignored, the next time you go over a pothole a little too quickly, you could be left with completely flat tyre and an expensive tow home – a simple slow puncture can result in a costly blowout if not seen to immediately. Take a look at this article from the RAC on car warning lights explained and consult your vehicle’s handbook to make sure you know exactly what to look out for.
2. Check Your Brakes
As possibly one of the most important safety systems within your car, you must check your brakes regularly. Firstly, check the brake pads for signs of wear – these can be viewed between the spokes on your wheel. If less than a 1/4 of the pad is visible, it may be time to have them looked at by a professional, as they could need replacing. Another warning sign that your brakes require maintenance is an unusual sound when pressure is applied. If you hear a loud screeching sound, this could indicate quite a serious problem – in this instance, getting your car booked in for a checkup should be a high priority.
3. Replace Windscreen Wipers
Your windscreen wipers are another highly important fixture within your car. They make sure that the road is clearly visible while driving as well as helping during adverse weather conditions and wiping away any debris that may block your view. Because of this, it’s vital to change them regularly, so that you’re never left with a smeary windscreen. Faults to look out for when giving them a once over are detached arms, broken frames, cracks or missing parts, metal corrosion and detached rubber on the wiper blade. Any of these could cause your wipers to become defective and potentially make driving, even short distances, quite dangerous. Take a look at this easy to follow video from We Buy Any Car on how to replace windscreen wipers.
4. Protect Your Headlights
While during the day, our headlights may not be of much use, once darkness falls, you’ll need them to be in pristine condition to drive safely. You may think that not much can go wrong with headlights, but they can, in fact, develop what’s known as headlight cataracts! Headlights over time will begin to yellow, due to UV rays from the sun wearing down the protective coating that covers them. Fortunately, car owners can protect their headlights and restore them if the yellowing begins to happen. Take a look at this article from Popular Mechanics, which will take you through how to clean your headlights step by step.
5. Touch Up Scratches & Chips
We’ll all face the annoying sight of a scratch, chip or small dent in the bodywork of our car. Whether it happens through vandalism or accidental damage; it’s hard to avoid. It’s important, however, to make sure that they are taken care of as soon as possible, as if left, they will ultimately lower the value of your car, allow rust to collect and turn into bigger problems. It’s tempting to just leave them be and simply live with them instead of taking them to be looked at, but as specialists in car body repair in Milton Keynes, we would strongly advise against this. You may think that by taking your car into a garage, you’ll be faced with an expensive repairs bill, but we promise that with minor repairs this won’t be the case.
6. Rotate Your Tyres
Most vehicle manufacturers will recommend rotating your tyres on a regular basis, in order to extend their life and enhance performance. Depending on whether you have a front or rear wheel drive, your tyres will wear differently, resulting in significantly less tread on certain wheels. By having your tyres rotated, you’ll ensure that they are all being used evenly and they will ultimately last longer. It is generally recommended to carry out a rotation every 5000 to 7000 miles, but check your own manufacturer’s guidelines. If you want to try and carry out this task at home, take a look at this tutorial from Howcast on how to rotate your vehicle’s tyres.
7. Keep It Clean
You may feel like skipping this one as it’s pretty obvious, but it is essential to clean your car regularly in order to ensure it remains in a good condition. As well as washing the exterior, make sure that you take the time to thoroughly clean the interior as well. By cleaning your car correctly, debris won’t be left to build up and damage the paintwork and the interior will be kept looking nice, ensuring that your car’s value is never compromised due to lack of cleanliness. Halfords have a great guide on how to clean your car from top to bottom, inside and out!
8. Check Oil Levels
It’s important to check your car’s oil levels at least once a month, to make sure that it isn’t running out and that it also hasn’t been contaminated. Oil makes sure that your engine runs smoothly by reducing the level of friction, so it’s vital to always make sure that there is a sufficient amount. If you are unsure as to how to check your oil levels, take a look at this guide from Consumer Reports.
9. Keep Your Brake Fluid Topped Up
We have touched on the importance of your braking system in terms of wear, but your checks shouldn’t stop there. Your brake fluid ensures that the movable parts within the system do not corrode and are sufficiently lubricated. Without this, your brakes will not function properly and could cause catastrophic effects. Checking your brake fluid is relatively easy; it involves making sure that the level is between the MIN and MAX markers, and that it is a golden brown colour. If you find an issue when checking, take your car to a qualified mechanic.
10. Protect Paintwork From The Sun
While we don’t see as much sun as other countries around the world, during the Summer months particularly, your car’s paintwork can become damaged by UV rays. If your car is sitting in the blazing sunshine day in day out, it will gradually lose its lustre and become dull in colour. Your car’s colour will fade and the value could decrease, so it’s important to care for your car accordingly and put preventative measures in place. An easy way to do this is to keep your car in a garage or covered place during the day, or alternatively, if this isn’t possible, invest in an outdoor car cover. This will not only protect your car’s paintwork from the sun but many other adverse weather conditions, bird poo and sappy leaves – all of which can cause damage to the paint and bodywork. We recently carried out restoration and car body work in Aylesbury on a vehicle that had been severely altered due to the sun, so would highly recommend taking steps towards preventing this from happening to you.
11. Clean Your Battery
Keeping your car battery clean may be lower on our list but is equally as important in terms of caring for your car. This involves checking for any corrosion and cleaning it sufficiently to avoid the need for replacement. If left to fester, corroded car batteries can interfere with electrical connections, wires and terminals. Check out this article on cleaning car batteries from Car Bibles for a step by step guide on how to do it correctly.
12. Get Your Car Serviced
While regular car servicing isn’t a legal requirement, if you really want to care for your car properly, make sure to book your vehicle in for a service twice a year to ensure that it runs at its best. At the very least, your car needs to be serviced once a year to keep fully up to date on all of the above checks. For more information on car servicing and how often you should get it done, take a look at this helpful article from Arnold Clark.
Care For Your Car And Reap The Rewards
It’s always important to consult your vehicle’s manufacturer and their recommended guidelines to caring for your car, but with the above tips, you will be well on your way. Remember, by investing a little time in doing minor checks and putting preventative measures in place, you’ll save yourself from costly repair bills later on down the line and your car will retain its value.