More than a quarter of motorists avoid basic car maintenance tasks and 75 per cent of us would leave standard maintenance checks to a mechanic, rather than checking ourselves. Of course the need for professionals is always going to exist, and there are some tasks only experts should handle. But here are five problem areas you should be able to tackle yourself, saving a hit on your bank balance.
1. Oil runs out unexpectedly
Half of motorists don’t feel confident changing oil themselves
If your oil runs out, the engine will start to overheat and the increased friction can cause permanent damage. You can avoid the panic by checking the oil dipstick at least once a fortnight. Simply find the bright handle labelled ‘Engine Oil’, remove the stick and wipe clean, place it back into the pipe, pull out once more and check where the oil film comes up to.
Preparation is key when it comes to a dead battery
2. Flat tyre and no spare
A third of UK drivers feel uncomfortable changing a tyre
One of the most common car nuisances, a flat tyre can seriously hinder your journey. If you aren’t able to use your spare, handy repair kits are available from most auto parts stores and include a can of clever sealant which can temporarily seal any holes until you can get to a garage. Be sure to keep one of these in your car boot at all times and try to get into the habit of checking your tyre pressure regularly.
3. Empty screen wash
One in ten of us doesn’t feel confident filling their wiper fluid
Having enough washer fluid in the tank is important for safe driving, especially if you frequently drive long distances. Most screen wash caps are marked with a windscreen wiper symbol, so just unscrew the cap and fill with a mixture of water and screen wash fluid – your owner’s manual will contain instructions on mixing the right proportions.
4. No more engine coolant
More than a third of motorists would ask a mechanic to check their coolant levels
It may be the last thing on your mind but checking the coolant levels in your car is extremely important as it prevents your engine from overheating and will stop the inside of your system rusting. Your driver manual will talk you through how to do this on your car model.
5. Dead battery
Two thirds of motorists would go straight to a mechanic about battery issues
Preparation is key when it comes to a dead battery. Always ensure you have a set of jump leads in your car and carry out regular checks on your battery voltage with the multimeter under your bonnet. Key tell-tale signs of a battery that’s about to die are dim headlights and trouble starting the engine in the morning.
Thanks to Steve Murphy at Swinton Insurance
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