Vehicle Self-Maintenance: What you can do Yourself to Save Money!

We all want a reliable car, don’t we? But no matter what we drive there are always repairs and many we can take care of ourselves. You may find that the thought of this makes you nervous and worried that you may damage or even kill off your car by performing self-maintenance, but don’t worry the vast majority of small things are simple and not dangerous. Also, anything that is major we would recommend taking to a proper mechanic, such as brakes, tyres, exhausts etc.

Change Your Fluids Regularly 

There are essentially two fluids that need regular checking. These are oil and windscreen washer. Oil is essential for the smooth running of the engine and can cause serious damage if not regularly checked and replaced, always carry spare oil and if the warning light goes on, top-up immediately. The second fluid that is vitally important may not quite seem so at first, windscreen washer, it’s not usually serious but if you are driving at speed and the windscreen suddenly becomes obscured then it could be deadly. 

Change Your Coolant 

Coolant is so important, and it’s not difficult to work out why? It cools the engine down, it’s all in the name. We always think of changing other fluids, as we’ve mentioned such as the windshield washer fluid and the oil. But although it doesn’t need doing very often it can be very harmful not to get it done. It’s as simple as topping up any of the other fluids and takes barely any time at all. There is no set interval when coolant should be changed as it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it’s important to check with your cars manual to find out. If you are still unsure then it’s as easy as phoning up the local dealer to ask. 

Battery  

Vehicle batteries have a shelf life and this can vary from around 5 to 12 years depending on the quality of the battery and usage. Changing a battery is a really simple process on most vehicles, it should involve removing a bolt or screw then loosening the terminal connections and putting the new one in and reconnecting the two terminals and fixing back in. Remember to properly dispose of your old battery and there are plenty of places you can recycle your car batteries around the country. Another tip to be aware of is that it is good practice to clean the battery terminals at regular intervals as they can gunk up and you don’t want to suddenly lose power in the middle of a trip. There are tutorials online for every type of battery change such as this charge your RV batteries one. 

Replace the Air Filter Annually 

Not everyone is aware that the air filter on a vehicle needs replaced annually, maybe because it’s often included in a service. But it’s another easy piece of work that anyone can do at home, it needs no more specialist equipment than a screwdriver, in fact, I had one car where I had to remove the air filter to change a headlight! This got me very well-practiced in the art of changing a filter. There is an input hose and an output hose and it’s just as simple as removing these two connections and changing the unit over!

Light-Bulbs 

With a few exceptions headlight and other light bulbs are pretty easy to change over on most modern cars. You can even find which bulbs to order via some great websites where you simply put in your number plate and it automatically suggests compatible bulbs. This makes it really uncomplicated and pretty much anyone can do it, and it most often takes a small amount of time, 10 ,minutes or so on average. 

Clean Your Headlights & Number Plate 

Are you aware that it’s a driving offense in most places to drive with dirty and obscured headlights or number plates. The number plate issue is so you can be identified in the case of a collision or accident or if you are being pursued by the cops (hopefully this is not an issue people!). The headlights make more obvious sense, as it’s a safety issue that you can see the road clearly and other road users can see you. It’s likely that either of these would only result in a warning, but why take the chance? It’s always a good idea to keep some cleaning fluid and a cloth for these situations.

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