Routine servicing can be very beneficial, as garages will often spot wear and tear on vehicle parts ahead of them needing to be replaced, allowing you time to factor in the cost of repairs.
If you come to sell your vehicle, a regular record of service will not only attract more interest from car buyers but will also add to its resale value . This means your car is more likely to command a higher price tag if sold and may sell more quickly than a car without a service history.
If you want to know how to keep your car in tiptop condition, keep reading.
How to maintain a petrol car
The following are some points to remember when maintaining your car and keeping it safe and running effectively:
Air and oil filters on cars will, over a period of time, get clogged, so keeping them updated is important. You can get them replaced during your regular service or if you prefer you can save some money and change them yourself. Always make use of genuine filters, as inferior parts can cause long-term damage to your vehicle.
For the most part, try to drive smoothly, because aggressive acceleration and deceleration can cost you in higher repair and fuel bills. Not only is driving with ease kinder on your vehicle, but also to the environment. In turn, engines should also be allowed to rev up to the red line after every few hundred miles to avoid carbon deposits building up and causing engine inefficiency and damage to parts.
If used irregularly, air conditioning systems in cars can lose refrigerant gas. Try and use your AC even in winter, as the cost of refilling your system can be up to £50.
Replace your leads and spark plugs when needed. Any sign of excessive wear and tear such as cracks should be dealt with either by a reputable garage or, if you’re into mechanical DIY, you can manage the change yourself.
Keep the fluids in your car fresh and topped up at all times. Maintain regular checks on your engine oil every two weeks by lifting your bonnet and removing and checking your dipstick. Your oil level should maintain its position between the maximum and minimum markers and, in a petrol powered car, be a light shade of yellow-brown in colour. Oil that is dirty and dark should be replaced.
Other fortnightly fluid checks should include your antifreeze and windscreen washer container.
Use screenwash bought in the store for your windscreen wash, as normal washing up soap can damage your cars paintwork.
Keep your tyre pressure correct at all times, as your tyres are a vital safety feature for your vehicle. You’re advised to check them regularly once per week for wear and tear. Underinflated tyres can also lead to higher fuel costs, so ensure they are topped up to your manufacturer’s recommended pressure settings.
Maintain your car battery by driving it at least once a week. If you don’t, consider utilising a “trickle” charger to top it up.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have use of a garage, use a strong quality tarp to cover your car when it’s outside for long periods of time to protect it from the elements and corrosion.
Keep your vehicle clean! It’s not just about appearance – all that dirt and grime can get into the vehicle’s inner workings and have a detrimental effect. A regular routine of cleaning your vehicle will help it to keep running well.
Reduce the weight in your vehicle whenever possible. Carrying unnecessary weight in your vehicle puts strain on your brakes, suspension and tyres. Excessive weight will also increase your fuel consumption. Avoid overloading at all costs.
Stick to a regular service schedule of a minor service once a year, as this routine check is vital for your safety and your cars continued good health and long lifespan. A major service should then be carried out at two- to three-year intervals. Many approaching car problems can be identified early at a service and headed off before causing danger to your life and others on the road.
How to maintain a diesel car
While much of the above advice is true for diesel cars too, because of the different engines they host, diesel car owners can be mindful of some additional information.
Less expensive than petrol, diesel has a reputation for being an economical option for car buyers. Understanding diesel engines and taking care of them will allow you to get the most out of this kind of car.
When it comes to fuel, always select a high-quality option and buy it in sizeable quantities instead of a couple of litres at a time. Ensure that your fuel tank is never left empty and whenever possible in winter, fill your tank up entirely.
On the subject of oil changes, replace you waste oil with fresh oil once a year at the very least, or after every 15,000 kilometres driven. As with fuel, always make use of high-quality oil for your engine and consult your manufacturer’s manual for the recommended kind for your car.
Regularly replace the filters for your diesel car to ensure optimum engine efficiency. This applies to air, fuel, and oil filters.
When starting your diesel car, try and go easy and don’t rush, always keeping your revs per minute right in the middle rather than going overly high or low. When you come to a stop, give your diesel car plenty of time for cooling down, leaving about 20 seconds prior to turning off your engine and around two minutes if the drive you were on was longer or more challenging.