For any driver, it is essential to be confident in the car they are using. When you get behind the wheel, you need to know that the vehicle will do what you expect it to do, when you expect it - and you will usually find that it meets those expectations time and again. However, that’s not to say that you can’t help things along. By being ready to carry out some bits of car maintenance yourself, and also when to seek the assistance of experts such as 800-CarGuru, you will allow your vehicle to perform to the peak of its powers.
For the sake of being confident, it is beneficial to stick to a car maintenance checklist. All cars have the same essential working features, and remembering to keep those up to date will give you the best possible chance of keeping your car going at its best for longer. Below, we’ll go through some of the checks you need to do - and some you will need to outsource - to make sure your vehicle is in prime condition.
Check your oil and coolant
Both oil and coolant are fundamental to the smooth running of your car - literally, in the case of the oil, which allows components in the engine to function and move smoothly. Coolant is important for keeping the engine from overheating. Once a month - or before any long drive - get under the hood of your vehicle and check the levels of both of these products. If they’re running low, top them up. If one or both keep dropping, bring your car in for a service.
Check tyre pressure and tread
The level of pressure in your tyres needs to be just right: too high and you can experience blowouts, too low and the tyres will overheat and lose tread. Any time you’re going for a long drive or transporting a heavy weight - and once a week, regardless of your itinerary - check your tyre pressure is where it should be as specified in the manual. The tyre tread, meanwhile, is vital to road handling. It should be at least 1/16th of an inch deep.
Maintain your air filter
The air filter in your car keeps dirt and debris out, and if it is working properly it ensures you have the right level of fuel efficiency as well as a durable, trustworthy engine. Your manual will contain instructions for how to clean out the filter in your car, and how often you need to do it. Increase the regularity of this check if you drive often in dusty conditions.
Make sure lights are functioning
Each light on a car has an important function, from the headlights to the turn signal, from the rear lights to the brake lights. If they’re not working, you could present a danger to other drivers and yourself - and you could face repercussions on a legal front. Check the lights monthly, including asking someone to stand behind the car as you press down on the brake pedal to make sure other drivers can see when you’re slowing.
Get your tyres rotated
Whether because of the terrain you drive on, the loads you carry, or any alignment issues, it’s likely that your tyres will wear at different rates. This makes it all the more important that you rotate the tyres to balance out the wear. The more often you drive, the sooner you’ll need to rotate; feel free to ask us how often would be appropriate for you.
Other elements of your car and engine will need longer-term maintenance and, in most cases, will benefit from being checked by professionals. You can keep a check on them in between times, but to have full confidence in their working order it is advisable to let 800-CarGuru have a look at them to ensure your service checklist is where it should be.
Transmission and coolant fluid
Your transmission transfers power to parts of the car that move it where it needs to go - such as the axles and driveshaft. To achieve this, it uses its reserve of fluid, and when the levels of that fluid drop you risk losing some control in your car. Refer to your manual to see how often they need checking - and bring the car in if you feel like you’re not getting a rapid response when steering or changing gear. Coolant fluid is equally important; without it, you won’t get what you need from your radiator, which is designed to keep the engine cool.
A key part of the ignition process of your car, the sparks need to be in working order if you are to get the power you need from your engine. If you find that your power is compromised, a professional check-up is in order.
After 60,000-100,000 miles of driving, your car is liable to need a new drive belt. It could be sooner than that, though, depending on the vehicle and what it has been subjected to. A tell-tale straining noise in your engine can be a warning sign, and if you note signs of wear on the drive belt you should have it professionally replaced.
Other essential checks
The internal workings of your car are complex and mechanical, and often need the attention of a trained expert. Some checks you can usually perform yourself include the windscreen wipers, which require replacement on average once a year on when they cease to provide the functionality you expect from them. You should also check that your battery is in order - listening for noises when you
start the car and looking at the battery itself. If it shows signs of fluid loss or seems to have “bloated” since its installation, you will need to replace it; after four years or so of use, you should replace it regardless. 800-CarGuru can source and carry out this replacement for you, and all our new batteries come with an 18-month guarantee.
For advice and assistance in carrying out any of the necessary checks, please feel free to contact us for more information on 800-CarGuru (800-2274 878), book online via our contact form or drop us a message!