Car maintenance can be a confusing and tricky business, but it is vital to stay on top of your car’s upkeep to prevent major mechanical issues.
We carried out a survey of 2,000 Brits to learn more about our car maintenance habits and found that as a nation we will carry out crucial car checks, such as checking car batteries (56%), engine oil (30%), and cooling liquid system (49%), once a year or less, which can lead to serious issues with your vehicle.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Ian Spence from Central Automotive Repairs to reveal just how important maintaining your car is:
“General car maintenance should take place every 6-12 months depending on mileage. How often a car is used does impact this, for example, a taxi or delivery driver may need more frequent checks. Most people doing moderate journeys should be having their car checked over for servicing and MOTs on an annual basis.
“Avoiding maintenance can lead to premature engine wear from lack of service, it’s a massive issue that most people don’t think about. The small things can go a long way to keeping your car in top shape, bringing down the yearly costs if preventative measures are taken.”
Here are some of the most essential car maintenance tasks every driver should regularly carry out and what the implications of putting off the check could be.
Engine Oil Levels
Surprisingly, 30% of Brits only check their engine oil once a year or less. It’s a key component in keeping your engine running smoothly, so keeping an eye on its levels could save you some serious money in the long run.
Ian says: “Ignoring engine oil levels can lead to engine malfunction and a whole host of engine problems. It’s easily one of the biggest issues that a lot of people tend to neglect – the cost could be a new car.”
Having your tyres at the correct pressure is a legal requirement and ensures a smooth and safe journey. Having tyre care products on hand, such as a pressure gauge or foot pump can be helpful for quick fixes.
Ian says: “Poor fuel performance and uneven wearing of the tyres may happen if tyre pressure is not checked regularly, especially on long journeys. The bigger cost could be a badly worn tyre causing a road accident.”
Windscreen wash is crucial to seeing the road ahead clearly and loosening up any stubborn dirt that your wipers can’t get off. Surprisingly, there can be legal implications if you are caught without screen wash, so it’s always best to keep it topped up.
Ian says: “A lack of windscreen wash means wiper blades don’t work as efficiently causing premature wear, also not being able to clear your windscreen correctly could cause much bigger issues and can lead to accidents.”
Your car’s battery is one of its most important components, and its performance can impact the vehicle’s engine and all electrical elements of your car. Having the correct car battery is vital to having a happy car.
Ian says: “A weak car battery has the potential to lead to breakdowns, which can then see a whole host of electrical issues and in some cases ECU problems in your car. It’s one of the most important maintenance checks you can do with your vehicle.”
Cooling Liquid System
Maintaining your cooling liquid system helps to keep your engine at a safe temperature, so ignoring signs of failure here can have detrimental effects on the engine.
Ian says: “Engine damage can be very expensive to put right. Ensuring the correct coolant is used and regularly checked is important.”
Checking horn performance is the task that is most likely to be put off, with 38% of Brits admitting to never checking it. This can have a negative impact for not just the owner of the car but other road users too.
Ian says: “Ignoring horn performance can lead to MOT failure and not being able to alert other road users, which could result in an accident.”
Signs of Rust
Rust can completely ruin the exterior of a car and can potentially lead to complication with the internal mechanisms. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to, but also a good idea to treat rust when you first notice it.
Ian says: “Rust has the potential to cause irreparable damage to cars, can get worse if ignored and again could cause MOT failure.”
For further tips on how to spot signs of rust, read our guide.