Too many people don’t take good enough care of their cars and that’s why the unexpected should be expected. Initially, when people get a new or used car into their life, they tend to take better care of it initially and over time that personal care and attention diminishes. Cars are investments that do need to be looked after and cared for – not used without concern. Certain factors like keeping tabs on fluid levels and condition spot checks can help save you from the unexpected and hefty bills. Let’s put it this way…these handy, honest tips will hopefully move you towards spending time over your bonnet like this:
and not like this:
whilst saving you money in the process and maintaining your car’s resale value.
Under the hood
Perhaps the most important section of the car is the mechanics. Now you don’t have to be an expert in car mechanics to do any of the following checks on your car neither do they require you to disassemble an engine. These preventative maintenance methods are ideal for keeping your car running smoothly, reducing depreciation between service intervals, and making your car sell easier when it’s time to move on.
> Check you Oil WEEKLY. Engine Oil should be a dark brown colour and the closer it is to black the more it needs changing. Use the Dip Stick and some cloth to check the colour; it’s a 2 minute job. The longer you leave not changing bad oil, the worse it is for you car’s engine. TIP: Check oil when engine is warm and on a flat surface.
> The same goes for Engine Coolant. A WEEKLY look at your coolant levels can help you determine whether you have a leak or not. If you are noticing you are filling it up regularly – contact your dealer. REMEMBER: Never fill the coolant level above the MAX line.
> Power Steering Fluid. Again, a simple 30 second glance ONCE A WEEK at your power steering fluid level can help save your car’s valves and pipes from bursting. Without power steering fluid, not only is your steering system going to be effected, but bursts and breaks can affect other parts of the engine.
> Stay cool even during winter as checking your A/C is important all year round. Make sure you’re using it for around 5-10 minutes every 2-3 weeks to ensure the system is properly lubricated. REMEMBER: Never try and fix you’re A/C system, all repairs must be carried out by an ARC accredited repairer.
> Filters- the hidden pieces of kit that we rarely think of. Oil filters should be changed alongside your oil and pollen filters cleaned or replaced (depending on condition) maybe ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR (Pollen Filters every 30k). Oil filters help keep particulates from entering your engine system while pollen filters clean the air that enters your car…you’ll be surprised how dirty they get.
> Finally, Brake Fluid can deteriorate over time and low levels can lead to corrosion of braking components as the boiling point of the fluid is decreased with less liquid. It’s simple cuppa brewing science – less liquid = faster boil. Check WEEKLY to avoid problems and frequent changes throughout the year can help flush out contaminants.
Taking a look under your bonnet for all these things can literally take 5 minutes and changing these fluids is the easier part. With so many products on the market and so many cars, it can be hard to find the specific parts for your car. The great news is that SuperCheap Auto has an extremely comprehensive and useful part finder on their website. Simply enter your car make, model and year and all the compatible parts that you may need are there instantly, broken down into sections.