For some people car maintenance can be very boring. Getting your hands dirty and fiddling around with car parts located in hard-to-reach areas can be frustrating; but when the job is done you can sit back and know that the work has been done to protect your car and to prolong the lifespan of the various car parts you’ve just worked with.
On the other side of the coin are the people who enjoy getting their hands dirty. They look out of the curtains on a Sunday morning and see the blue skies overhead allowing them to get outside to wash their car and to do the all-important car maintenance they’ve been waiting to do for several weeks, only to be thwarted by the weather.
Whichever category you fall into the thing that you need to remember is that car maintenance doesn’t have to be messy or difficult, and everything you’re doing will benefit you further down the line. Sure, you may have to invest in a few new car parts to replace old or damaged parts and you may have to put in some engine oil from time to time, but when the alternative is a complete engine rebuild, it’s definitely worth spending a small amount of cash and time on the work you can do at home.
To help you on your way to being an expert in car maintenance and who knows, maybe even car repairs, we’ve compiled a list of tasks for beginners and novices so that you can improve the efficiency, reliability and performance of your car straight away.
Quick and simple car maintenance
One of the simplest tasks is to check the engine oil levels. This can be done when the engine is cold and when the vehicle is parked on flat, level ground (ensuring that you get an accurate measurement when you read the dip-stick.
Engine oil is designed to lubricate all of the moving parts inside the engine, ensuring that they can move freely and easily without rubbing against each other. An insufficient amount of engine oil can cause the parts to grind each other down causing serious damage to the engine, and it can also cause the engine to overheat as the oil works as a coolant too.
You can check your engine oil level by cleaning the dip-stick, replacing it into the engine and removing it and reading the current level. Your dip-stick will have a minimum and maximum marking on it, and the closer to the maximum line the better. Having added the correct engine oil, allow several minutes for it to filter into the engine before cleaning the dip-stick and reading the level again.
On a related note the next task that you can do is to check on the condition of your oil filters. These are designed to allow the oil to flow through the system while preventing potentially harmful materials from working their way in and causing serious damage. Dust and dirt that gets into the system can corrode several of the moving parts and can cause the oil to clog so that it cannot do its job of lubricating and cooling the system.
As the oil filters collect these materials they can get blocked and even damaged, so over time they will need to be changed. This can be done in less than ten minutes and only requires a few basic tools such as screwdrivers to loosen and tighten the related components. The filter itself simply slides in and out of the casing and, depending on the manufacturer, should be changed every 3,000 to 6,000-miles.
Wiper blades and screenwash
It might sound obvious, but being able to see where you are going at all times is vital. Harsh weather conditions, dark evenings and a windscreen covered in grease and dirt picked up off the roads can all combine to make driving hazardous so it’s important that you can clean your windscreen and wipe away the harsh weather.
In poor weather, and throughout the majority of the winter, you’ll find that you’re using your wiper blades more than ever. Whether you’re washing away the rain, wiping away the frost and ice or cleaning your windscreen your wiper blades will be subjected to the worst of the elements and that means that they are prone to wear and damage.
You can instantly notice when your wiper blades have been damaged, or that they may have worn, as they fail to wipe away all of the fluid and dirt on your glass. If they miss a section it may be that they have been damaged and you can check this by running your finger along the rubber blade for any signs of cuts or holes. Changing your blades on an annual basis is never a bad habit to get into and ensures that you are prepared for the year ahead.
Of course, it’s always good to ensure that your screenwash reservoir is topped up and ready to use when you need it. Dust and dirt picked up off the road surface can leave your glass particularly dirty and hard to see through even in the dry conditions, and you have plenty of choice when it comes to choosing your windscreen washer fluid.
You can choose between ready-mixed and concentrated screenwash and every version is suitable for use in every system regardless of the make and model.
There are a variety of other key car service parts that you can check at home including spark plugs, brake pads and discs and your car lighting parts; and we will be covering these in another car maintenance-related blog soon.
For more maintenance and repairs advice, continue to come back to the Euro Car Parts blog and feel free to browse our full collection of car parts on our website.
We have parts for all makes and models and we will even deliver them to your home on the next working day free of charge if you order before 4pm. Alternatively you can visit one of our 200+ branches nationwide to see the full range for yourself.