Car Maintenance Tips

On Friday, my car is going in for its annual service and then we will be driving to Stratford on Sunday for the Lollibop festival.  The service means I don’t need to make the usual checks that I would before a long drive to ensure my car is roadworthy but as it’s on my mind, I thought I would share a guest post from the Money Matters Team at the Sainsbury’s Bank Blog.  I have recently been invited to join their Family Blogger Network, please see the disclosure at the end of this post for more information.

car maintenance image

A little like people, there’s sometimes no telling if signs of age are a true reflection of how old a vehicle is.

That’s why it may be surprising to know the average car on the road in the UK is 7.44 years old, reports the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT); and it claims that motorists are hanging onto their vehicles for longer.

Acknowledging that car repair costs increase as they get older, it could save you time and money if you’re able to do a little DIY maintenance.

Why is car maintenance important?

Car maintenance is essential for many reasons including;

  1. Keeping your car roadworthy, legal and safe
  2. Reducing the risk of costly problems occurring later on
  3. Maintaining fuel economy
  4. Helping to ensure it has a decent resale value

To make the most of your maintenance efforts, it’s important to carry out basic checks regularly. Most checks should be undertaken once a week, and always before a long journey. For more detailed car maintenance tips, check this handy guide from Sainsbury’s Bank. Here’s a few main points to get you started:

What should you check?

Tyre pressure

If your tyre pressure is wrong, it could affect fuel consumption, reduce stability, reduce grip and shorten your tyres’ lifespan. The correct tyre pressure for your car is usually listed in your owner’s manual. Use a pressure gauge on cold tyres to check what it is, and if it matches the figures in your manual.

Engine oil

Engines need oil to continue to work efficiently, but too much or too little could cause problems. To avoid this, check the engine oil dipstick. For accurate results, make sure your car is parked on a flat surface and the engine is cold. Lift the dipstick out and wipe it clean with a rag. Then, re-insert and remove again to see the fuel mark level which should be between the minimum and maximum markers.

Brake fluid

Make sure your brakes stay in good working order by locating the brake fluid reservoir under the bonnet.  Unsure of where the brake fluid reservoir is and how to check it? If so, look in your owner’s manual.

If you need to top up your brake fluid levels often, your car might have a leak. Make sure to have it checked by a mechanic if you think this might be the case.

Engine coolant

Coolant plays an important role as it prevents your engine from overheating, especially on long journeys. You’ll find the engine coolant reservoir under the bonnet (check your owner’s manual). Just as before when using the oil or brake fluid dipstick, use the coolant dipstick to make sure the level of coolant is between the minimum and maximum marks.

Other aspects to remember

No matter how hands-on you are with car maintenance, vehicles three years old and over still need a yearly MOT check. That’s why it makes sense to ensure your car is serviced regularly by a professional. And if you own an older car, you may need to take extra precautions to make sure it’s safe and legal to drive.

Look after your car well and there’s a high chance that it looks younger than it really is!

This is a guest post, written on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog. All opinions given in this post belong to its author, and not to Sainsbury’s Bank. Though tips and information are offered in the post, it does not constitute advice and shouldn’t be considered as so. This post should not be used as a basis for any decisions, financial or otherwise. Sainsbury’s Bank accepts no responsibility for the views of external contributors, or for any of the external websites linked to in this post. The information in this post was correct at the time of publication.  Please note that while I have not been paid to publish this post on my blog, I was offered it as part of my membership of the Sainsbury’s Bank Family Blogger Network. As a member, I have received a Sainsbury’s voucher but this does not obligate me to publish this post, I have chosen to do so.