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A Guide to Basic Car Maintenance

Help prevent a breakdown with some simple maintenance

There are two ways to avoid the possibility of a breakdown – one is regular servicing to make sure your vehicle is functioning efficiently; the other is to do your own car maintenance checks.

Here's our top 10:

1. Tyres

Check your tyre pressures and the condition of your tyres (including the spare) every two weeks. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure your tread is within legal limits.

2. Toolkit

If your car has a spare wheel, then make sure you carry a jack and wheel-removing tools (plus a locking wheel nut key if appropriate) in the vehicle at all times.

3. Engine oil

Use your dipstick to check oil levels every couple of weeks, and before any long journey, and top up if needed. Pop your car back to the garage if you're topping up more than usual.

4. Water

Every week, while your engine's cold, check your coolant level is between the MIN and MAX marks. Winter tip: before the cold weather sets in, get your anti-freeze checked and topped up, if required.

5. Windscreen wipers

Replace your windscreen wipers once a year to prevent smearing. Read more about how to do this in our How and when to replace windscreen wipers blog. [LINK to wipers blog over words ‘read more’.]

6. Screenwash

It’s the law that your screenwash system must work. So keep it regularly topped up with a reliable screenwash – one that prevents it from freezing, and clears oily grime.

7. Windscreen

Keep an eye out for stone damage and, if you spot any chips, get them repaired as soon as possible as they can grow and crack if left alone. If the damage can't be repaired, or it's in a place where it could distract you, your windscreen may need to be replaced.

8. Lights

Check all your lights – including indicators, reversing lights, brake lights and fog lights – weekly. Look out for blown bulbs and cracks or dirt on the lenses.

9. Power steering

Make sure your garage fills your hydraulic fluid reservoir when they service your car. Then all you have to do, once a month, is check the levels; if necessary, you can top up with a recommended fluid.

10. Bodywork

Give your car panels an occasional once-over for any damage, or signs of rust. 

This is an edited version of advice given by motoring company the AA on its website. To read the full article, click here


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