Many of you might feel daunted by the idea of opening your bonnet. The engine is a complex place and it can freak out beginners! Unfortunately, this attitude is going to cost you a lot of time and money in the future. Car maintenance is an essential part of your job as a driver. It will keep your vehicle healthy and make sure it lasts longer. You’ll make less trips to the garage and fork over less money to the mechanics!
More importantly, you’ll take the strain off the engine and save you from breaking down. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself stranded at the side of the motorway.
It so easily avoided with a couple of simple tricks. In this post, we’ll help you conquer those engine fears and get stuck in. Let’s get messy!
Check your fluids every fortnight. – When you lift the bonnet, you’ll find the engine surrounded by multiple fluid tanks. Your first task is to learn them all. You’ve got the oil tank, the coolant, brake fluid, windscreen washer and power-steering fluid. The most important checks are the oil and coolant. If there’s a leak here your engine will overheat and your parts will grind to a halt. Use the dipstick to ensure they’re at the right level.
Change the oil every 3,000 miles – Oil is the lubricant that keeps all the moving parts sliding over each other. When it turns sour, your parts will grind against each other and wear down. It will cause your engine to work harder and eventually give out. Healthy oil is brown in colour. Change it completely every 3,000 miles, or earlier if it turns black. Trust us, this will help keep your car in showroom condition.
Check your tyres – Your tyres shoulder the biggest burden of damage on your car. Measure the tread depth every couple of weeks and make sure it’s deeper than 2mm. Next, check the tyre pressure. If it’s too low, you’re putting extra strain on the engine and wearing it down. Too high and you’ll be driving dangerously. Use the figure dictated in the car’s manual and keep it at the suggested level.
Replace the air filters – In order to burn fuel, your engine combines petrol (or diesel) and oxygen from the air. When the air filters are full of dust, the engine gets less air than it needs. That means it has to work harder to move. Check them every few weeks and replace when they get too thick with dirt.
Regular servicing – Sometimes, no amount of self-maintenance can keep the bigger problems at bay. Issues in the suspension, clutch and electrics are difficult to spot. Most cars now come with a servicing warranty, so take advantage and take it in for a health check. The folks at Lifestyle Dacia offer a five year warranty with servicing, but many forget to use it! It’s no effort at all to book a yearly service, so put it in your diary.
Hiding from the problems under your bonnet will only lead to danger later in life. Get the wrench out and get stuck into some self-maintenance!
Photo credit : Flickr