Regular checks that are most important for your car
This can be easily missed if you live in suburban streets or you do limited night driving. Some cars may not tell you if certain lights on your vehicle aren’t working, so regular checks are a must to ensure clear and quality vision on the road. Important lights on your car go beyond just your head and tail lights. Both low and high beam lights should be tested as well as reverse and brake lights. Indicators for road signalling, informing other drivers what you are doing, and don’t forget any trailer or caravan connections.
The more rubber on your tyres the safer you are. Do regular tyre tread checks, especially if you are planning to travel long distances. This may be the difference between your car gripping the road properly whilst braking or sliding out over a slippery surface. In addition to just checking the tread, ensure there are no bulges, punctures or anything piercing your tyre that could affect its durability. Now to avoid blowouts and flats, stay on top of tyre pressure checks even before you see any deformity. Check the corresponding tyre pressures that are suitable for your vehicle in all conditions when inflating your tyres.
Water, Oil, and Fluids
Make sure that they are topped up and ready to go. All fluids within your vehicle play their part in ensuring that your car runs smoothly. To help out your radiator, water or coolant (for those cold temperatures) levels should be measured regularly alongside your oil. Coolant levels should only be checked when the engine is cool, this should be done before you drive your car or well after to allow the engine to cool down. Oil levels are essential as cars are unable to run properly without it. Regularly check your dipstick and oil colour, but research what type of oil best suits your car. Keep an eye on your power steering fluid so you don’t feel like you’re throwing weight around when turning the wheel. Give your brakes the best chance of functionality by checking and paying attention to your brake fluid.
More than just checks on the fluid, brake pads on your wheels could use some regular attention. Brake pads that have been overheated or are in need of replacement can show cracking and wear. Hearing metal on metal sounds while braking or squeaky noises can indicate that they are in poor condition. If any of these things occur make sure you go and speak to your mechanic or brake specialist to get new brake pads. Brakes are quite literally a lifesaver when it comes to driving, so do not take them for granted, and remember, your brake pedal is very important in determining the connection between your brakes, so make sure that it is not flimsy or loose when pressing down on it.
Steering and suspension
Test this in conjunction with your wheel alignment, wheel balance, and brakes. All these areas together can give you a good idea of where your steering and suspension is at and whether you need a professional look further. Whilst the engine is off and with your foot on the brake, move the steering wheel from side to side and check whether there is much free movement occurring that overcorrects where your wheel is aligned. Take a look at all four wheel points of your car and check that the car’s body isn’t sagging close to the tyres (considering you haven’t lowered your vehicle). If so, check the springs and suspension and contact your mechanic if there are any defects.
These days modern vehicles have many electrical connections running throughout the car. Extra strain is put on the vehicle’s battery to ensure the electrical systems are in working order. Without a battery your car is difficult to start, so make sure it’s running properly and keep up to date with its battery life so you are aware of when it needs to be changed. Car batteries usually last just over two years, so if you think your battery is past the given period it may be time for a new one before your car powers down. Keep an eye on the condition of your battery and take note if there are any cracks, acid leaks, or any other damages that may impair its functionality. Remember safety is key when batteries are damaged, if the terminals don’t look safe have a professional help you.
Damaged or dirty air filters can limit the air flow of your vehicle’s engine. This leads to your vehicle working harder than usual leading to potential problems. Fuel consumption can be impacted with restricted air flow causing you to burn through more fuel leaving money out of your pocket. You could check for excess dust, debris, dirt, or any other potential blockages when looking at your air filter. If the air filter is looked after, the less it has to be changed and the better the car’s performance will be in the long run.
Now without this you wouldn’t be going very far, so regular engine checks will help you stay on top of your vehicle’s powerhouse. No this does not mean pulling the engine out or rearranging any parts, leave that for the mechanics. Cleaning the engine by wiping it down and checking the leads can be enough to stay on top of it. Try to get your engine steam cleaned at least once a year for a deeper cleanse. Contact a steam clean professional to help you so you can help look after your engine quality.
Having a clear windscreen is vitally important for your vision on the road, this goes for your windows and mirrors as well. For your windscreen washer, find the washer bottle or compartment located in your engine bay and fill it with water or any associated washing liquid suitable for your vehicle (see owners manual if you are unsure). Using the right liquid can determine functionality of your wiper blades or vision clarity. Test that your windscreen wipers are working properly and check to see if there are any cracks or blade damages. If your windscreen wipers make a squeaking sound, then it might be time for a change. Windscreen rubber is fairly cheap and can be purchased at your automotive retailer.
Make sure to discuss these key areas with your automotive expert or mechanic to better look after your car!