Keep the Car Running: Basic Maintenance Tips

A surprising number of car fanatics have absolutely no clue when it comes to maintenance. And while it helps to have the number of a good mechanic if something serious goes wrong, there is plenty you can do on your own to look after your pride and joy. So, here is a basic guide to maintaining some of the essential features of your car. Using these techniques will give your car the best chance of running smoother for longer.

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Wheels and Tyres

First of all, you should clean brake dust off regularly. If you leave it for too long, a combination of road grime, moisture and grime will bake onto your wheels from the heat of your brakes. Use a damp sponge and cold water to remove the brake dust off. You should also get into a habit of regularly checking your tyre pressures – once a week if possible and definitely before any long journeys. If you don’t, your fuel economy, handling and comfort could all be affected. You also need to check out the tread depth on a regular basis and replace the tyres if it has become too low.

Engine

Open up the hood of your car and you should easily be able to see a series of rubber belts that loop around different parts of the engine. If they start looking worn, it may be time to replace them which should be done roughly every 50,000 miles. Another problem that you should look out for is leaking fluid on your driveway which may be a sign that your car needs transmission repair. Another easy thing you can do is to check the oil level of the car by checking the dipstick and topping up as needed.

Electrical

Before undertaking any electrical work in your car, you need to disconnect the battery starting with the negative and moving onto the positive. Problems can arise if your battery terminals or contacts aren’t clean so you may need to sort these out using a wire brush. Make sure that you are fully confident with what you are doing if you attempt to do any yourself and always bring it to a professional if you are not confident.   

 

Lights

If one of the lights has gone out around your car, this should be a simple enough problem for you to solve yourself. Any good auto parts store should be able to tell you what sort of bulb you need and your manual should tell you how to replace it – it is different with every car. Avoid touching the glass when changing the headlight bulb as you can leave oil on the glass, making it more likely to crack.

 

Bodywork

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With so many good quality waxes and polishes available these days, taking good care of your bodywork can take years off your car. Obviously, the bodywork isn’t going to impact the running of your car, but many people like the idea of taking good care of it nevertheless.     

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