Saving yourself from nasty car hiccups and unexpected expenses can be as easy as regularly checking these three simple things.
Three main fluids you need to check are your Radiator Coolant, Engine Oil and Transmission & Power Steering fluids. When checking your Radiator Coolant it is important to remember never to remove the cap when the engine is still hot. Wait a few hours to allow it to cool. When the engine is cool, remove the cap and check that the coolant is between the low and high level markings. If it is below the low marking, top it up with the coolant recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
When checking your Engine Oil, ensure your car is parked on level ground. Start the car and allow the engine to run for a brief time, then switch it off. Whilst the engine is warm, remove the dipstick and clean it with a paper towel or clean cloth. Then reinsert the dipstick completely, remove it once more and check the oil level reading.
An ideal reading is anywhere in between the low and high markings. Top up your oil if it is sitting below the low marking but remember to first check the owner’s manual for the correct oil grade. If there is no oil on the dipstick, don’t start your engine as this can cause it to seize, and be very costly to fix.
When checking your Transmission and Power Steering fluids, consult your owner’s manual first as the correct way to check differs from car to car. If the level is low in either, it is best to have a qualified mechanic check this as soon as possible as this maybe the result of a leak.
Your car’s correct tyre pressure is found on the tyre placard, which is typically found on the inside of one of the front doors. Otherwise refer to your owner’s manual.
Checking your tyre’s tread is just as important as the tyre pressure. A tread depth on any part of the tyre’s surface that is less than 1.5mm is unsafe and illegal to drive.
Remember to keep an eye on the tyre tread indicators that are in the grooves of the tyre tread. Once the tread has been worn to be level with an indicator, it’s time to replace that tyre. Whilst checking your tread, keep an eye out for bulges, cracks or any unusual damages. This could mean there’s an issue with your suspension.
Lastly, remember to rotate your tyres (including your spare that is the same size) routinely as this can spread the wear and extend the lifespan of the complete set of your tyres by as much as 20 per cent.
To maintain your windscreen wipers, the first thing to take care of is your washer fluid. Ensure that your washer bottle is filled with clean water and the correct amount of windscreen washer additive. Household detergents are not to be used as they can damage your paintwork and wiper blades.
Replace your wiper blades if they are split, eroding or simply not cleaning your windscreen properly.
Take care of these three things and your mechanics and car will take care of you.
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