We all know that servicing our cars regularly is the best way to prevent some serious long-term problems and to avoid breaking down. But there are so many other things we check ourselves to prevent a lot from going wrong.
Also read: What to know before taking your car in for a service
The AA suggests 10 vital car checks:
- Know the correct tyre pressures for your car and check them at least every two weeks using a good-quality gauge or garage air line.
- Check tyre tread and condition – look for cuts on sidewalls. If any one tyre needs regular top-ups, it may have a slow puncture.
- Don’t forget to check the spare as well.
Read more: How do I check if my tyres are okay?
- Check the handbook for the location of the basic toolkit for the car that should contain at least a jack and wheel removal tools.
- Familiarise yourself with the jacking points used to lift the car safely.
- If locking wheel nuts are fitted make sure that the toolkit includes the key or removal tool.
Read more: Out-of-the-box ideas for an emergency kit for your car
- Check the dipstick at least every fortnight and before any long journey.
- Have the oil and filter changed at recommended service intervals using oil of the correct specification.
- High oil consumption can indicate engine problems.
Read more: Selecting the right motor oil puts money back in your pocket
- Check the coolant level regularly and top up as necessary – but only when the engine is cold.
- Have the antifreeze concentration checked before winter.
- Antifreeze prevents the build-up of corrosion within the cooling system as well as stopping the coolant freezing so is important all year round.
Read more: 5 Road Safety tips you need to know this Winter!
- Check and top up regularly – it’s a legal requirement that the system works.
- Use a good screenwash additive through summer and winter – water alone won’t clear oily road grime and freezes more readily in winter.
- Check regularly for stone damage as this can impair vision or distract attention.
- Minor chips can grow and crack the glass but many can be repaired by a windscreen specialist.
Read more: Maintaining your windscreen and wipers
- Check all lights weekly. Don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights.
- Clean lights regularly. In bad weather wipe them over with a damp cloth during driving breaks.
- Deal promptly with damage to bodywork to prevent rust setting in.
- Many cars have extended bodywork warranty schemes, which may require annual inspection at the dealer. Check that any previous owner has kept records up to date.
Source: The AA