Whether you’re a car enthusiast and consider working under the bonnet a hobby, or you just need to know the basics to keep your car on the road, everyone needs to do a little car maintenance every once in a while.
While the parts might be easier to come by, modern cars can be just as complex to maintain as used or even classic cars. Below, we’ve put together a list of key car maintenance dos and don’ts, which can also be used as a checklist when you’re taking your car in to be serviced.
Do Check Tyres Regularly
Essential for your safety, and the safety of those around you, it’s important to check your tyres frequently – especially during colder months.
When it comes to tyres, there are three major things to consider: condition, pressure and tread. Obvious issues – like punctures – should be fixed immediately, however other problems are easy to overlook.
Under or overinflated tyres, for example, can lead to issues with fuel efficiency, tracking and braking. To check the pressure of your tyres, you’ll need a pressure gauge – you can either head to a petrol station for this, or pick up your own tyre pressure gauge for an affordable price.
It’s best to check your tyres when they’re cool, and every car model will have a different recommended tyre pressure figure. You can usually find this number inside your car’s petrol cap, inside the driver’s door or in your owner’s manual. If your current tyres are lower than they should be, add some air. If it’s higher, slowly release some until you reach the required number.
As for tread, every vehicle in the UK is required by law to drive on tyres with a minimum tread of 1.6mm. This measurement should be consistent around the entire tyre – if it’s lower than 1.6mm at any point, the tyre should be replaced before you get back on the road.
Do Replace Your Air Filter
It’s easy to forget about your air filters, but ideally you should change them every 12 months, or every 12,000 miles – whatever comes first. While small, air filters play an important role in your car. They keep dust, dirt and other pollutants out of your engine, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.
Don’t Leave Your Car Static For Weeks
If you won’t be driving your car for an extended period of time, you should still check on it frequently. Leaving a car static can result in a flat battery, and this can happen fairly quickly depending on your car’s age.
We recommend starting your car every one to two weeks. Leave it running for 15-minute periods each time, and before you make a journey check and adjust tyre pressure if necessary. Make sure you check brakes for corrosion too, and look under your bonnet in case any animals have decided to claim your car as their new home!
Do Check Engine Oil Levels
Checking your engine oil is a straightforward process too, and it only takes a few minutes to do at home. It’s always a good idea to have some spare engine oil in your garage, just in case you need a top up.
To check your engine oil levels, make sure your engine is turned off and you’re parked on a flat, level surface. Ideally, you’ll want to do this when the engine is cool – first thing in the morning is usually a great time to do it.
Simply remove the dipstick, give it a clean and then replace it. Pull it out once more, and check the indicator levels. If you’re running low, just add some more to avoid running on empty when out and about.
Don’t Ignore Your Dashboard Warning Lights
See the lights flashing on your dashboard? They’re trying to tell you something. While it’s all too tempting to ignore your dashboard warning lights when everything seems to be running smoothly, failing to fix the problem can often lead to much greater (and much more expensive) issues in the future.
It’s important to pay attention to unusual noises coming from your vehicle too. Often a sign of something gone wrong, identifying them early can also prevent more damage from occurring further down the line. Here at Euro Car Parts, we have an entire guide on unusual vehicle noises and what might be causing them if you’re not sure where to start.
Looking for new parts or affordable car maintenance products to keep your vehicle in good condition? From replacement bulbs and wiper blades to car shampoo and primers, you’ll find it all for less at Euro Car Parts.