It can be tempting to skip regular servicing when money is tight, but when it comes to car maintenance – prevention is better than cure.
Replacing car parts can be expensive, and in many cases, problems can be avoided if you carry out some simple, regular maintenance.
Keeping on top of these tasks will ensure you keep your repair costs at a minimum.
Keeping the right amount of clean oil in your engine can prevent lots of internal damage.
Remember to check which oil grade is suitable for your car. The brand of oil doesn’t really matter, but adding the wrong grade of oil can lead to a shorter engine life.
With most new cars, it is recommended that you change your engine oil every 10,000–12,000 miles or once a year, along with regular servicing. (Consult your owner’s manual for the exact recommendations for your vehicle.)
In between oil changes, it’s important to keep your oil topped up at the correct level.
If you’re unsure what to do, check out our handy video guide on how to check and top up your engine oil.
Maintaining the correct fluid levels in your car will shield the engine from harmful frost in the winter months and overheating in summer.
Aside from engine oil, fluids you should regularly check and top up are:
The RAC has some helpful videos that explain the importance of each of these fluids and how you can check them.
Remember to check your signal and brake lights to make sure they’re all working.
30% of MOT failures are a result of light bulb, headlights and signalling problems. You could save yourself the cost of another MOT by simply checking these are all working before you take your car to a garage.
Replacement bulbs are cheap and easy to fit, but if you’re unsure, take your car to one of our service centres where our expert technicians will be happy to help.
Regularly checking your tyres won’t just save you money; it could save your life.
Under-inflated tyres affect handling and grip when driving, and can cause your vehicle to move unpredictably.
Incorrect pressure will also wear out your tyres quicker, and can cause uneven wear. This means you’ll have to change your tyres more regularly.
And on top of all that, you’ll also achieve maximum fuel efficiency when your tyres are correctly inflated, saving you more at the fuel pump.
Tyresafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety charity, advises that you check your tyres once a month, and before a long journey. And remember, the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle varies depending on load weight.
Every car is different, so it’s important to check what your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule is for your car. But as a rule of thumb, most cars need to be serviced once a year or every 12,000 miles.
Your vehicle manufacturer will also have recommendations for other maintenance intervals e.g. oil changes and cambelt replacements.
Avoid unnecessary repair bills by sticking to the schedule suggested in your service manual.
Most modern cars are pretty good at letting you know when something’s up. So don’t ignore a warning light, as you could face steep repair bills for letting a problem worsen over time.
The AA has some handy tips on what dashboard lights to look out for and what you should do to fix the problem.