A few simple maintenance checks could save you great trouble and money
Thoroughly checking your car every few weeks for any possible malfunctions may save you the trouble of sudden breakdowns. There are 6 key areas to check when you are looking for problems; Fuel, Lights, oil, water, electricity and rubber.
Veteran drivers have this highly efficient habit of fueling up every now and then. They keep their fuel tanks at least halfway full or even all the way if there are other family members using the car/rental car or if they are driving to an unfamiliar area. They do not wait for the fuel light to come on rather, they top up the tank as soon as they come across a fuel station, regardless of immediate need.
Cleaning all your exterior lights every once in a while would get you to ensure whether or not they are working okay or if there are any cracks in the outer shields or any breakages on the inside. It’s also imperative that you check its operational capabilities as well while you are at it, for example, check if all the indicators are working well, ensure if the backlights and headlights are working and there are no blown out bulbs or dimmed intensity of light.
Car/Rental car dealers and car manufacturers perpetually stress over checking your engine oils every so often and changing if need be. If you are not sure how to do it, refer to the car handbook. Simply put, don’t wait for the red oil indicator to come on- your engine might already be under-performing/or damaged by then.
Thousands of cars in the UK are reported annually to have broken down unexpectedly due overheating, even more so in the summer. It is important that you keep a keen eye on the coolant levels every few weeks and ensure the water levels aren’t low to an alarming level.
Moreover, it’s also advised to check for any leaks if the water levels become too low too often. And let’s not forget to fill up the windshield washer fluid with water and soap!
Check your handbook if you don’t know how to go about such tasks.
Battery breakdown is an even a bigger issue than overheating when it comes to unexpected car breakdowns. Keep a battery life calendar that helps you track the lifespan of the battery installed in your car so you know when it’s time to replace it.
As mentioned above, checking the coolant in the electrics should not be compromised. The radiator’s electric cooling fan should be working without any malfunctions in an ideal car maintenance situation. If you have enough knowledge about car mechanism, then get your tools out and check if all is running well, or take your car up to the garage to get it checked.
Damaged or overused tyres are one of the most important, if not the prime cause of car breakdowns (even more so when you have rented a car). Whether the car is being excessively used every day, or just standing in the spot for weekly grocery runs, it’s essential that the tyre pressure is checked every few weeks and topped up/ adjusted accordingly. Every time you plan a long drive, get your tyres filled up before your car hits the big road.
Your handbook should be able to tell you the right pressure levels for your car tyres in case you don’t know or your dealer forgot to mention.