Easy car maintenance tips that you can do anytime

Motoring 2018-9-27
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A trip to the garage isn’t cheap, so follow our home care tips to look after your car and save yourself £££’s.

Check your air filters

Air filters are there to prevent debris and harmful particles building up in any areas of your car where air and fluid flow such the engine, radiator and fuel lines. Most cars will need their air filter changing every 12 months or 12,000 miles to prevent decreased functionality and damage being caused to your car.

It’s only a 10 minute job and will cost you around £10 – bargain when you think about how much a garage would charge you!

How to change an air filter:

  • Pop your car bonnet and locate your filter. It should be a rectangular box with metal clips but if you’re unsure, consult your owner’s manual.
  • Open up the casing and check how the filter sits inside, for example which way up it is etc.
  • Replace the old filter with the new one, ensuring it’s inserted in exactly the same position as the one you have just removed.
  • Close the metals clips, drop your bonnet, et voila. All sorted and no trip to the garage.

Change your wiper blades

Wiper blades need to be changed every 6 months to a year, or as soon as they start smudging your windscreen. When this starts to happen, your visibility will be reduced when driving and this could be dangerous.

Places like Halfords will charge you for fitting your wiper blades when it’s just as easy to fit them yourself. It may seem like nothing to pay £4 for fitting, but it will soon add up over your car’s lifetime.

How to change your wiper blades:

  • Lift up your blades away from the windscreen and remove, taking note of how they are connected onto the metal arms. Usually they are attached by a clip.
  • Attach the new blades exactly how the old blades were before removal and there you go! Simple as that.

Make sure that your oil is always topped up.

Anyone who drives a car will know how important it is to keep an eye on their oil level and to keep it topped up. The worst thing you can do is let it run out as this can have some damaging effects to your car as well as leave you with a hefty garage repair bill.

In simple terms, if your car runs out of oil, your engine will fail. As the oil is the key component to keeping all the moving parts of your engine running smoothly, the lack of it will cause a lot of damage and possibly ruin it entirely. Engines are not cheap but a bottle of oil is…

How to check and top up your oil:

  • Pop your bonnet and locate your dipstick. It is usually easy to find by its yellow handle but you can consult your owner’s manual if you are unable to see it.
  • Pull it out, wipe with an old rag or piece of kitchen roll and reinsert.
  • Take the dipstick out again and check to see where the oil mark is. It should be sitting comfortably between the min and max line. If it below or not visible then you need to top up your oil.
  • To top up your oil, you need to ensure you have purchased the correct one for your car. This can be easily checked online by searching by your number plate or car specifications.
  • Locate the oil cap (it will have the symbol for oil printed on it) and unscrew it.
  • Usually if you are running low, a litre of oil will be sufficient so carefully pour that in.
  • Replace the cap and you’re good to go.

Don’t let your coolant run out.

Running out of coolant is very similar to running out of oil. The engine needs coolant to stay cool (the hint is in the name) when fully operational as overheating can cause serious damage. Along with your engine seizing up, your head gaskets may go or even melt a hole in a piston.

Coolant is relatively inexpensive to purchase with 5L costing around £20. This amount will last you for a quite a while so it’s a very small price to pay compared to getting your engine rebuilt.

How to top up your coolant:

  • Wait until your car is cold so either do this first thing on a morning before you set off or on an evening after your car has been sat for a few hours.
  • Pop your bonnet and locate the coolant cap. If you are unsure what your looks like, you can check in your owner’s manual but it is usually sat on top of a plastic tank.
  • Slowly unscrew and top up with coolant so the level sits between the min and max indicator on the side of the coolant tank.
  • Replace the lid and job done.

Make sure your tyre pressure is correct.

Not having the correct tyre pressure can lead to reduced fuel efficiency, as well as affecting the vehicle’s handling, cornering, braking and road grip in wet weather.

If you do not know what the correct tyre pressure for your car is, then this information can be found in either your owner’s manual or online. Sometimes they are even written on the inside your fuel filler flap.

It’s worth noting that if you’re having to put air into your tyres quite often then you may have a slow puncture or other damage to your tyres.

How to fill up the air in your tyres:

  • Set the air pump to the correct BAR or PSI.
  • Remove the air cap that can be found on the inside of your tyre.
  • Place the pump over it and allow the tyre to be filled. Usually a beeping will indicate when the set pressure has been reached.
  • Replace the air cap and repeat on the 3 other tyres.

Looking after your car will not take up too much of your time and all these little jobs can be done when you have a spare 10 or 15 mins. If there are any tips that we haven’t covered and you would like us to, drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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