Car engine maintenance tips
These 7 actions, regularly attended to, will maintain the life of your car and could save your life.
1. Check and change the oil.
Your engine is the most vital component of a vehicle, and what keeps it ticking over is oil. Oil lubricates the engine and all the car’s mechanical parts, preventing wear and tear and friction. As it ages, the oil tends to collect dirt and other contaminants. The engine may seize up if the oil is not changed before it becomes sludge.
Check the oil weekly or monthly. If your oil contains flecks of metal particles, take your car to a garage straight away. You could change the oil yourself. However, it is easier and safer to let your regular mechanic do this for you.
2. Check the brake fluid.
Check the brake fluid whenever you check your oil. When you apply the brake, brake fluid moves down the brake lines to the front and rear brakes. If there is not enough fluid, your vehicle will not stop properly. If your car has an ABS (anti-lock braking system), check your car manual about inspecting the brake fluid reservoir. If the fluid is dark in colour, it’s time to book a service.
3. Clean the battery.
Take a look at your battery. Is corrosive white or bluish powder forming on the terminals? Clean the terminals with a soft brush – a small paintbrush is perfect. If they are left uncleaned, the battery could crack or not work properly, meaning the car won’t start, and you could be left high and dry at the most awkward time.
Change your battery every three to four years. Your automotive mechanic will be able to tell how long your battery will last before it needs replacing.
4. Check the coolant.
If you don’t regularly check and change your coolant, your car runs the risk of becoming extremely corroded. Coolant flows around the passageways of the engine, preventing critical components like the radiator and the water pump from overheating. Check your coolant twice a year: before the weather warms up and cools down. Ensure the level is not under the minimum or over the maximum marks. Don’t ever open the tank when the engine is warm unless you want to be sprayed with scalding steam!
5. Check hoses and belts.
You should check your belts and hoses at least every three months or 3000 kms, whichever comes first. Gently tug them to see if they are firm. Change your hoses every four years or whenever one is showing signs of wear. (Do they show signs of cracking, fraying, nicks or splitting?) Replace your timing belt every 100,000 kms.
6. Change the air filter.
The air filter prevents dirt and other particles from entering your car’s engine and reducing its efficiency. Check the air filter once a year and replace it as needed.
7. Check the spark plugs.
Is your car feeling a bit sluggish, idling roughly or misfiring? Replace old spark plugs for new ones, and you will be astounded as your car revs into life.
Car maintenance tips for the exterior
Maintaining involves more than the engine. Taking care of these 5 features of the body of your car could save lives.
8. Check your tyres.
Regularly checking the tyre pressure will reduce wear on the tyres and improve your petrol consumption. Your make and model’s recommended tyre pressure is in your car manual or on the inside of the fuel tank flap. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre. Due to turning and braking, tyres do not wear down at the same rate. Rotate front ones to the back and from left to right to extend their life.
9. Check the windscreen wiper blades and wiper fluid.
Worn wipers can leave smear marks across the screen and eventually scratch grooves into the surface as they transmit grit across the glass. These reduce visibility, which is dangerous. Don’t forget to fill the wiper fluid up. It’s pointless to change your wipers if they leave smears on the windscreen because there’s no fluid in the tank.
10. Check the lights.
Are all your lights working? Is one brighter than the others? Misaligned lights can be a visual hazard for other drivers. A simple step like cleaning the lenses and replacing all blown light bulbs could prevent accidents.
11. Wash inside and out.
Bird droppings, dust storms, dirty rain – all these can build up and cause your duco to rust. Washing your car protects the paint, increasing its value when you come to sell it. Touch up exposed duco with a stone-chip pen to prevent corrosion and rust. Waxing your car adds extra protection and prevents dirt from sticking. Clean the interior with a vacuum cleaner and a microfibre cloth, as mould and debris can be a health risk. An upholstery cleaning foam erases stubborn marks or food stains.
12 Lighten the load.
Remove anything that you don’t need in the car. Unless it’s your mobile home, adding extra weight to your car causes more wear and tear.
As you can see, there are many different things that the owner of a vehicle should do to ensure the safety and convenience of their car. Unfortunately for most people, following such guidelines can be challenging. For this reason, we recommend that anytime you’re interested in car maintenance, you can contact Professional car mechanics. Experienced mechanics will handle your car’s maintenance quickly and efficiently – which helps to keep your car maintained over the long haul.