A car is an essential for any busy woman. It helps us get to the shops, ferry the kids to school and driving on a country road is a great way to relax and unwind. The problem is that cars can be a huge drain on the bank balance, especially if they aren’t looked after properly.
Here are a few tips to keep your car running smoothly.
Check your oil and water levels
This is especially important if you have an older car. A lack of oil can cause damage to your engine and a lack of water can cause your car to over heat. It’s best to check both once every two weeks.
To check your oil levels locate the dipstick, which will have a coloured handle, and take it out. Wipe it with a rag then replace. Take it out again and you’ll be able to see the oil level. If it’s a little on the low side top it up. Refer to your handbook for the type of oil you need.
The radiator water will also have a coloured top so it’s easily identifiable. The reservoir itself will have a min and max line on it. Make sure it’s always kept topped up as it cools your engine but also contributes to your car’s heating and cooling systems.
Learn to change a tyre
This is something that is fairly easy to do but a lot of people have never been taught. If you get a flat tyre while driving along then you’ll need to pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so – unless you have run-flat tyres, in which case you can drive to the nearest car service centre.
In most situations a garage would have to be called to either rescue you or put your spare wheel on for you. Learn to do this yourself and you can save yourself time as well as the call out and service charge.
Changing a tyre is something best practised at home in dry weather. You don’t want to have to learn on the spot when you get a flat in the middle of the night. Take a look at How to Change a Tyre on Cars Guide for step-by-step instructions.
Keep your tyre pressure up
The reason we get flat tyres is because of sharp objects hitting the sidewall when a tyre is at too low a pressure. Check your handbook and know what the optimum psi (pounds per square inch) for your car’s tyres is. Every so often check these at a garage and give them a little air if needed.
Tyres at the correct pressure can also make your car handle better and give better fuel efficiency.
Regular car servicing
Sometimes there’s the temptation to miss a service when it feels like the car is running smoothly. Doing this might save you money in the short term but could cost you in the future. Even a basic service will look at the different components in your car and will give you an idea of when they might need to be replaced.
A service will identify any parts that are beginning to wear and may need costly repair, or become a safety hazard, in the future. Finding them early on means they can be fixed before they break completely. They’ll also check tyre pressures, oil levels, windscreen wiper effectiveness and hose condition.
Keep your car clean
Taking your vehicle to an automated car wash can be damaging to your bodywork and also uses a lot of water. If you don’t want to wash your car yourself you can take it to one of the many hand car washes. This is better for the environment and your car will come out a lot cleaner.
Keeping your car clean means you are less likely to see rust forming; you won’t get the pale spots on your paintwork from bird droppings and bugs; and you can protect your car from these with a wax and polish too.
About the Author
Taylor Ritchie is a travel writer and car lover currently working for MyNRMA who make car care products.