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24.03.2015 - 05:48

How to care for your car

It is your responsibility, as the owner of a car, to make sure that is maintained properly. This means more than just putting it through its annual MOT and having it serviced regularly.

Here we take a look at how you can easily keep your car roadworthy and save yourself from some costly garage bills.

Tyres

Check the tread on your tyres regularly, the minimum depth required by law is 1.6mm. Failure to meet this standard is unsafe and can result in three penalty points and a fine. That's per tyre.

You also need to look in the car's handbook to see what the recommended tyre pressures are. Under-inflated tyres may overheat and over-inflated ones can burst.

For more information on tyre standards, see gov.uk/vehicle-maintenance-safety-security/vehicle-maintenance.

Brakes

Regularly change your brake pads and discs. Screeching is a sign that you have left it too long. You can check pads by looking at them from above, if they look thinner than 0.25 inches, they probably need changing.

Discs should be shiny over their entire surface with no irregularly worn patches. Always change discs in pairs.

Lights

Most modern cars will warn you if a light is out, but some older cars may not. Always replace blown bulbs as soon as you can. Remember to keep the surrounds free from dirt which can make the lights dimmer.

Windscreen

Wipers and washers need to be fully functioning. Even minor chips need replacing as soon as possible. You really don't a small crack to develop into a large one when you are doing 70mph down the motorway.

Damaged windscreens can also affect the performance of airbags.

Leicester car leasing company, totalmotion, a company I know well, frequently check their vehicles' windscreens and immediately replace them if any faults are found. This is sound practice which everyone should try to emulate.

Water

Failure to maintain the water level in a car battery can lead to serious issues. Luckily, it's very easy to check the level and top up with distilled water if necessary. Be careful not to overfill.

You also need to keep the water in the radiator topped up.

Car battery

If you only use your car for short journeys, you run the risk of the battery going flat. Counteract this by either going on a longer drive once a week or charge the battery overnight every fortnight or so.

If your battery seems to be on the blink (flickering displays are a good sign), you could have a faulty alternator.

Clutch

The fluid levels need checking by removing the cap from the clutch reservoir. Top up if it looks low as too little fluid will stop the clutch from working. If the level keeps getting low, go to a garage straight away.

Steering

Power steering fluid also needs to be monitored, a lack of fluid may stop the steering from working which can be very dangerous.

For more advice on how to maintain your car, visit gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/321988/guide-to-maintaining-roadworthiness.pdf.

The above points are just a few of the things that you should check regularly. If in doubt, go to a trained mechanic; failure to nip problems in the bud is the most common reason that serious mechanical faults develop.

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