No one wants a hefty bill at the garage, and the easiest way to not have that happen is to do as much of the simple maintenance as you can – trust us, it’s not so bad!
We’ve popped a list together to give you an idea on just how much you can do without any help. A lot of these tips are essential for the entire year, but some of them are a little more vital in these seasons, so make sure you check them out and keep your car in tip-top shape.
Spring tips and tricks
It’s time to get down to the spring clean! This is a good time to do some more of the general maintenance before you start going away on holiday and taking those spontaneous road trips.
· Check your tyre tread
The 20p test is the perfect way to do this. All you need to do is get a 20p coin and place it between the tread on your tyres. If you can’t see the outer ring of the coin - great! If you can, it’s probably time to start thinking about getting a new set.
· Check the tyre pressures
This should definitely be done more than once a year – once a month at least! Every fuel station will have somewhere you can check easily, so there’s no excuse. You’ll be able to find the tyre pressures for your car on a sticker on the door frame, in the car hand-book, or give it a quick internet search.
· Replace your spark plugs
The CarShop service centre will always check and replace your spark plugs if they fail when they go for a service, but doing them once a year is a good habit anyway.
· Check, and if necessary, replace your brake pads
The one part we want to work properly (if nothing else in our cars) is the brakes. Their condition is vital, so make sure you give them a check and a new set in the spring as soon as the weather gets a little warmer.
· Air conditioning bacteria cleanse/servicing
There’s a lot of stuff in the air that you don’t particularly want going through your air conditioning system. Yuck. But, doing this in the spring will clear any bad smells and prevent a build-up of bacteria too!
Summer tips and tricks
Ah summer. The time of the year we have all been waiting for. Long summer drives, late nights and the perfect time to do all the tedious maintenance to your car whilst it’s dry and warm.
· Is your spare wheel all good to go?
You may not have a spare wheel in your car, but if you do, ensure that it doesn’t have any bulges, cuts, is inflated and has plenty of tread. You don’t want to go on your long summer drive and have nothing to back you up if you get a flat in the middle of no-where.
If you don’t have a spare wheel, make sure your break-down kit or tyre-repair kit is up to scratch or even ensure you have a full can of tyre-sealant foam.
· Clean the brake dust off your wheels
Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect how well your brakes work! But, if you leave the dust to settle on the wheel, you’ll get some nasty staining that you won’t be able to shift.
· Rotate your tyres
Depending if you have front or rear wheel drive, either your front or rear tyres are going to wear a little more than the others. It’s good practice to swap them once a year so they all wear at the same rate.
· Check the wheel alignment
You’ll have to go to a garage to do this. But it’s quick, cheap and essential and will reduce tyre wear, increase fuel consumption and is all round good car care! Wheel balancing should be done twice a year. So, make sure you do this again in the winter.
Oh, and you can do this for free at one of our CarShop Service Centre’s with a free summer health check!
· Run the heater
Technically, summer will be the longest time of the year that you don’t try your heater in the car (we know that varies a tad here in the UK) but you don’t want it to clog up and become stagnant, so make sure you give it a run every so often.
· Replace your cabin air filter
This is amazingly easy, and all you have to do is open the glovebox! There’s plenty of tutorials online and you’ll be breathing fresh air for miles to come.
Autumn tips and tricks
So, the leaves have started to turn brown and it’s getting a bit nippy. The big freeze is still to come which makes it the perfect time to prep for the winter season.
· Get any cracks or chips fixed in your windscreen
You might have looked over a chip or crack in the windscreen for the past few months as you don’t see it as an essential issue. But you’ll want to get them sorted before the winter hits. As soon as it gets cold and starts to freeze, the water in the cracks will expand and… boom – you need a new windscreen.
· Pop a lighter somewhere accessible at home
Why? If your door handles get frozen shut after the weather turns, all you need to do is light a flame underneath and you’ll be good to go without breaking anything!
· Read up on some easy car maintenance before the winter
We’ve got a great blog showing you how to change a tyre, and all it takes is a quick browse online to get up to scratch with oil-level checks, spark plug changing and loads more.
· Annual service
To be honest, this can be done at any time of the year, but Autumn is always a good time to get things in check before the weather gets too cold, and after the summer when you want to be out and having fun.
Winter tips and tricks
We rely more on our cars in winter than any other time of year. Our car is the warm spot that keeps us moving when everything else seems to stop. So, perhaps this is the most vital time to keep your 4-wheeled friend in working order.
· Test the Air Conditioning
Say what? We know it’s cold and the last thing you want is the A/C on, but if you leave it too long before you test it, the cold can affect it. Plus, when it comes to using it in the summer you won’t want to be stuck in a sweatbox.
· Keep the essentials in your boot
De-icer? Check. Scraper? Check. Anti-freeze? Make sure you’re topped up and then stick it in the boot. Oh, and a spade and coat… perhaps a blanket and water in the boot will never go amiss should the worst happen.
· Cover your windscreen
There’s nothing worse than getting up in the mornings to a frozen windscreen. Investing in a foil cover will shave precious time off of your commute and keep you from shivering for the next 20 minutes in the front seat. An old towel will do the trick if you don’t want to spend anything.
· Ensure your engine heats up fully
If you only use your car for short bursts in the cold, your engine might not warm up properly. Taking it for a small spin gives all the essential fluids time to flow, your battery to recharge and the ice to melt on the roof – it’s actually illegal to drive with it!
· Wheel balancing
We’ve mentioned this in summer, but it’s essential and needs to be done twice a year – be sure to call into the Service Centre!
It’s worth mentioning that you can get a free winter health check in our service centres, so you can rest assured that you’re ready to rock and roll.
The essential checks every month
Sorry, we’re not quite done yet. This (small) list are the things you really should be checking every month. After all, practice makes perfect right?
If you’re not sure how to do these, they’ll be in the car-manual, or all it takes is a quick browse on the internet – there’s loads of help out there.
· Oil levels
· Coolant levels
· Windscreen wash levels
· Tyre pressures
· All your bulbs are working
· Any chips in the windscreen?
· Windscreen wiper check
· Drive belt check
Don’t forget the service every 10,000 miles! If you do your own servicing, be sure to do the fuel treatments and fuel filters too. It’ll keep the fuel injectors clean so you get better fuel economy and reduce your emissions.
And it’s just that easy!
Go and have a go, and happy maintaining!
- On: 24 April 2018
- By: CarShop
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