Car Maintenance That You Can Do Yourself

24th April 2017

The modern car of today is a complex machine compared to the “wind in the hair” sporty fun machines of yesteryears examples of early cars. These early machines inspired the popular music hall song: “Then he'd have to get under, Get out and get under, and fix up his automobile”. 

Maintenance of these cars was not difficult as cars, even up to the time when engine control units first appeared in the very early 1990’s were fairly simple and required little to keep them running, just a few greasing points, and oil change every 5,000 miles or so. But that is not to say that the modern car cannot have basic maintenance jobs done to ensure that affordable car care will keep it safe to drive.

 

Screen Wash

Screen Wash

There are car care tips which owners should be able to do, such as regular checking that the screen wash bottle is topped up with the correct screen wash concentrate. Care should be taken to ensure this is added to the correct bottle, clearly marked, usually with a diagram of a screen wiper.

 

Antifreeze

Unlike early cars, radiators rarely if ever need topping up as the modern car has a sealed system with anti-freeze for life, the expansion bottle should be left untouched.

 

Windscreen Wipers

Windscreen Wipers

 

Seeing through the windscreen clearly is vital. If the screen becomes smeared when using the wipers, these need changing and again it is a simple task. These blades wear gradually and it is easy to find that the squeaks are considered as normal, no, they need replacing.

All that is needed is the buy the correct replacements, ensure the wipers are turned off and then lift them up and away from the car’s windscreen. You can then turn the wipers 90 degrees to get at the retaining clips and replace them.

 

Changing a Wheel

Changing a Wheel

Although punctures are not as common now, there could be a time when it might be necessary to change a wheel. If you are on the motorway and this happens, we recommend that you do not attempt to do this yourself on the hard shoulder, call the emergency services; this is for your safety! 

When changing a wheel, always follow the advice given in your handbook, this will tell you where to locate the jack to lift the car so the wheel can be removed and replaced. 

Ensure the handbrake is on and chock one of the other wheels if possible as well, just loosen the wheel nuts before this is completely off the ground, then raise the car until the nuts and wheel can be removed. Reverse this operation ensuring that the nuts are tightened up when the wheel is fully on the ground.

Jump-starting Your Car

Jump-Startin your car

Modern batteries are excellent, but even these can fail and these can be changed and a direct replacement fitted. However, this can be done by battery suppliers if it is something that you may not wish to undertake. Starting the car with a flat battery presents a problem, but not an insurmountable one though.

Jump leads will start your car, you will of course need a set of jump leads and a “donor” car to connect their battery to yours. Park the donor car so that its battery is as close as possible to yours without touching. Take the positive lead, usually red and connect to the terminal marked with a (+) to both batteries, then do the same with the other, usually black lead to the negative terminal marked (-). Then, start the donor car and leave it running to get some charge into your battery, usually this will take around ten minutes. Then with the donor's car still running you should be able to start your car. Should it still fail to start you may have to call the rescue service.

 We should point out that nothing should be done that will invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty, if the car is still covered.  Many owners now benefit from five years cover and with most cars extended warranty can be purchased annually, but these may require main dealer serving as a requirement.

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