Having a car can be so incredibly convenient. No waiting around for lifts or unreliable public transport, if you want to get somewhere, you can simply hop in your car and go. However, there are certain aspects that can be very inconvenient too. The time, money and hassle of maintaining your car as well as the cost of repairing issues is never much fun for vehicle owners. Although if you keep on top of things everything will be far easier and you might save yourself a fair few problems in the long run. Here are some of the ways you need to be maintaining your car to avoid problems later.

Fluid Levels

There are five fluid levels in your car that you should be checking on a regular basis. These are your engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windscreen washer fluid. These are quick and easy to check and could be the difference between your car running smoothly and a complete breakdown. Make sure you’re checking these on a regular basis, particularly before setting off on long journeys. Driving tests these days often require you to know this information, so there’s no excuse when you have your own car. Don’t wait until service time to give them a check.

Windscreen and Wipers

Often stones and other bits of debris can kick up when you’re driving and cause damage to the windscreen. This is extremely frustrating since the windscreen is a huge piece of glass and can be expensive to get fixed. If it’s just a chip, you can often get these filled and fixed incredibly cheaply, if it’s already turned to a crack you will need a full replacement. Either way, companies like auto glass repair and windshield replacement will be able to assess the damage and fix the problem. Your windscreen wipers are another thing to check, sometimes the rubber can start to wear and no longer properly clears the glass. If it begins to rain heavily and this starts to happen, your vision could be obstructed and put you in a very dangerous position. Use your windscreen spray to wet the windows, and then make sure the wipers are removing everything so you can see properly.

Tyres

Tyres can be overlooked when it comes to checking your car over, but this shouldn’t be the case as they really are a matter of life and death. When they’re so heavily used, it doesn’t take long for tyres that look fine one week to actually be quite bald and unsafe the next. It’s recommended that you check your tyres every two weeks, legally there needs to be 1.6mm of tread, and there should be no cuts or bulges. During the winter using snow and ice tyres can help to give you better grip on the road and make driving safer. You should also ensure your tyres are correctly inflated, this can avoid blowouts and other accidents and allow your car to perform at it’s best potential.

Lights

You’ll usually know when you have a bulb out, as other motorists will flash you to let you know. But by this point, you’re already on the road and with the wrong lights out you could cause an accident. One blown headlight for example probably won’t cause too much trouble, but an indicator out could mislead road users and end up in a crash. Every so often (again especially before long journeys) go around and check your car. It’s not always a case of a blown bulb, sometimes the electrics can be the issue so if you’re having issues with the lights make sure to get them checked as soon as possible.

Bodywork

Not so much a safety issue as a cosmetic one, but something that you should keep an eye on when it comes to maintaining your car. Check around for any signs of rust, scratches or dents. Smaller issues you may be about to sort out yourself with some products from a car supply shop. Otherwise, it will have to go to a bodywork shop. Either way, we spend a lot of time and money looking after our car so want to ensure they look nice too. Be careful where you’re parking, stick to well-lit areas to avoid mindless vandalism or attempted break ins. Regularly cleaning and waxing your car will help to prevent rust, and getting rid of any before it spreads is useful. Inspect wheel wells especially since these can be hot spots for rust since they can get very dirty and are difficult to see properly. Generally keeping an eye on your car, cleaning it and ensure it stays in good condition should solve the issue.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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