Though it is wise to leave the main job of car servicing to the professionals, anyone who follows these basic car maintenance tips can ensure their car’s safety in-between services. The basics below only serve as a guide and if you have any issues regarding maintenance of your car, then probably you will need to seek the services of a professional mechanic instead.
Tyres are the most important aspect of your vehicle and failure to check some factors like tyre pressure, tread depth and the general tyre condition can negatively impact the handling, grip, fuel consumption and control of your vehicle. To make sure that your tyres are functioning well,
- Check your tire condition on a weekly basis.
- Check your tyres when they are cold since warm tyres generally give a higher pressure reading.
- Check your tyre pressure regularly to ensure that they are at the right level.
- Keep an eye on the tyre thread. Small bars will normally appear on the tyre when it wears down.
- Check the spare tyre to ensure that it is well inflated and in the best condition.
Being able to brake properly is very important especially when driving on winter roads. If you notice that your brakes are not functioning well, have them checked immediately so as to correct the problem. You need to check the brake fluid level, radiator water levels and oil levels frequently. If you have no idea about to check these, consult your vehicle manual for directions.
Changes that could alert you of a possible problem with your breaks include a softer brake pedal that may even touch the floor at times, brake pedals requiring more pressure to stop, vehicle pulling to one side when brakes are applied and the appearance of brake warning lights. As soon as you notice any of these changes, have your breaks examined immediately.
There are a variety of signs that your shock absorbers are not working well and some of these include;
- Excessive shaking of the steering wheel when you hit a bump or a pothole.
- Car feels very unstable on rough and un-sealed roads.
- Excessive nosediving by the vehicle when braking
- Excessive swerving of the vehicle to one side when brakes are applied suddenly.
Since the performance of the shock absorbers greatly affects the performance of your steering wheel, you should check them on a regular basis and most especially when you notice any of the signs above.
Seat belts Basic checks
Seatbelts are a very important safety feature and whether you’re on a short trip or long trip, make sure that you buckle up. The following checks will help you find out if your seatbelts are really up to the task.
- Check for any signs of fraying or damage to your seatbelts, including their retraction ability.
- Ensure that the head restraint is in the right position. It should be as close to the head as possible and not below the eye level.
- Ensure that the proper restraints for your child are in place.
Lights, wipers and windscreens
When driving during the winter, ensure that your vehicle can be seen from all sides by checking whether all the necessary lights are functioning well. You also need to ensure that your wipers are working well especially to make visibility possible when it is raining.
When it comes to cleaning lights, use a damp cloth. Check your globes regularly to ensure that they have not blacked out and if this is the case, replace them immediately. In case your vehicle develops problems beyond your understanding, contact a professional mechanic or car servicing garage immediately to avoid putting yourself or your family members in any danger.
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