Maintaining your car is one of the most important things when it comes to actually owning a car. After all, you don’t want to spend all that money on actually buying a car only to have to pay more for it to be fixed when it becomes damaged.
Of course, you also have to get it serviced and MOT’d, but what about maintenance you can do at home? You don’t have to be handy or a car enthusiast to carry out basic maintenance on your car, and it could save you money in the long run.
In this article, we are going to look at how you can maintain your car at home, and some top tips for looking after your car.
How to maintain your wheels and tyres
You should check the condition of your tyres every two weeks, according to the AA. It’s important to check them this often because you can break the law if your tyres are not compliant. Not to mention the fact that it’s dangerous and can also cost you a lot of money. So here are some things that you can do at home to maintain your wheels and tyres.
Clean brake dust off
Brake dust can gather on your wheels and contains all sorts of disgusting stuff. That, with road grime, moisture and heat can be bad for your wheels. The good thing is, brake dust clings to your wheels via static electricity, which means all you need to do is get a damp sponge and cold, clean water to get it off.
Check the tread depth
There is a legal limit for tread depth on a car and you can get in trouble if your tyres do not comply. If you have a car then the minimum tread depth should be at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre ¾ of the tread and around the entire circumference.
If it does not fit within those requirements, then you will have to get your tyres replaced.
Check for wear
Tyres are going to wear down that much is obvious. However, there are legal requirements for what wear is okay and what isn’t. Tyres must be fit for purpose. And that means they mus:
- Be compatible with types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
- Not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre (whichever is greater) and deep enough to reach the ply or cord.
- Not have lumps, bulges or tears caused by separation or partial failure of the structure.
- Not have any part of the ply or cord exposed
So those are some of the ways you can maintain your tyres at home.
How to maintain your engine
Maintaining your engine isn’t as daunting as it sounds. You don’t have to be an expert to be able to do the basics. There are quite a few things you can do yourself to help maintain your engine. For example:
Replacing the oil
Check your manufacturer’s guidelines for how often you should change the oil, but usually it will be about every 5000 miles. You can replace the oil yourself, but it is messy work. Here’s how you do it (you will need to jack up your car though, so make sure you’re comfortable with that):
- Locate the vehicle’s oil pan
- Unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into the oil pan
- Replace the drain plug
- Go back to your engine and remove the oil filter (use your oil filter wrench)
- Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with new motor oil
- Fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way
- Screw in the new oil filter
- Fill the engine with new oil
- Double check your oil level with a dip-stick
- Dispose of the old oil filter and you can recycle the old oil
Only do this if you feel 100% confident. Also, never change your oil when the engine is hot. Ever. You can watch a video on how to change your oil below.
Checking the coolant
To avoid your car overheating and thereby getting damaged, you should check your coolant levels every so often, particularly during the summer months. This is fairly simple, just find the coolant tank in the engine and make sure there’s enough fluid in there. It should be in between the maximum and minimum mark. If there isn’t, then you can top it up yourself.
Change your air filter
Air filters stop all the disgusting stuff like bugs and dirt and dust from getting into your engine. This means that they have to be replaced every now and then. Replacing it is really easy:
- Find the air filter box
- This is usually a black box with a sort of hose coming out the side
- Open the box and remove the old filter
- Put the new air filter in it’s place
Sorted. Ideally, you should change your air filter every 12,000 miles or so.
How to look after your car battery
Maintaining your car battery can be invaluable, and save you a lot of money in the long run. Here are some tips for maintaining your car battery:
Keep it clean
You can clean your car battery easily and doing this will maintain the strong charge.
Park it in the shade
Parking your car in the sun can wear down the battery. In the summer, try and park your car in a garage or at least in the shade so it’s not sat in the sun all day.
Invest in a charger
It might be worth investing in a battery charger, either a normal one or a solar one. You never know when it will come in handy.
Keep your car clean
One of the easiest ways to maintain your car is to keep it clean. Not only is this just nicer, but it also comes with other benefits as well.
Clean at the right time of the day
Don’t clean your car in extreme heat or after you’ve just driven it because it will affect the strength of the products you are using. Instead, clean your car in the morning or late-afternoon.
Remove grime before you wash
I know, it sounds ridiculous, but washing your car can damage your paintwork when not done right. Instead, use snow foam or traffic film remover first. This will remove the grit before you start washing it.
Hopefully, this has given you some top tips on how to maintain your lease car. Some of these are really easy to do, and others not so much so please don’t do anything you don’t feel confident with. If in doubt about anything in regards to maintenance of your car, then you can always refer to your manufacturer’s guide which will tell you a lot of what you need to know. Alternatively, you can ring one of our sales experts who will be happy to advise you.