If you have breakdown coverage on your vehicle, the thought of your car malfunctioning may not bring you much stress. No matter what type of coverage you have, preventing breakdowns in the first place is always the best idea. If you own a vehicle, you should understand proper maintenance practices. Here are five basic maintenance tips that you need to know:
1. Fluid Levels
You should make sure to check your fluid levels at least once each month. Along with regular oil changes, as suggested by your vehicle’s manufacturer, you or a mechanic should check your transmission, brake, anti-freeze and windscreen washer fluids. While some fluids need to be changed completely, some only need to be topped-off. Your owner’s manual will tell you how much of each fluid should be present, and the specifications of each fluid that you need.
The minimum tyre tread depth required by law is 1.6mm. In the winter, experts advise that you have no less than 3mm of tread depth. When running your finger over the tyre wear indicator, take care that your finger isn’t running into the main tread of your tyre. If it is, it’s time to get new wheels. When it comes to your tyres, ensuring that they are properly inflated will prevent malfunctions and improve petrol mileage. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper amount of tyre pressure and check your tyres once weekly.
Because it’s under the hood, drivers often fail to keep an eye on their battery. Checking your battery is important all year round, but particularly in the winter. During the cold weather, you are placing an extra load on your battery with heated windows, lights, heated seats and the heater itself. Take a good look at your battery to ensure that the terminals aren’t corroded, and be sure that your battery is charged to full capacity.
It may seem obvious to check that your windscreen is in good repair, but you would be surprised at the number of people that ignore minor chips and cracks. Even the smallest crack can spiderweb when additional stress is added, making it difficult, if not impossible, to see the road in front of you. If your windscreen is chipped or cracked, have it repaired straight away.
Lights not only help you see, but they alert other drivers to your presence and intentions. Having a light that isn’t working properly puts everyone on the road in danger. Check to make sure that your headlamps, reverse lights, turn signals and brake lights are in proper working order at least once a month. Recruit your partner to stand outside of the vehicle while you turn your lights and signals on and off, ensuring that all of your bulbs are functioning properly.
Knowing how to maintain your vehicle and its safety can help prevent breakdowns. While there are certain things that you may not be able to check on your own, you can certainly keep track of the basics. If anything on your vehicle is not functioning properly, or you are alerted by any warning lights, take your car to the local garage as soon as possible. Ensuring that your vehicle is in proper running order will help to keep you, your family and other drivers safe.
Daniel Alford is a financial blogger in the UK. If you need a little cash before your next paycheck, check out carbreakdowncover.com.