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Have you ever pulled into the service station and while fuelling up the the vehicle fuel tank and try and remember the last time you checked the air in the tyres or anything under the hood of the vehicle?
You are not alone.
With everyone becoming busier with day-to-day tasks it is easily forgotten to maintain your vehicle in between services and the benefits of just a quick check every week or so can save you a lot of dollars in the long run.
Quite often the only time that some vehicles receive attention is when the engine light on the dash flashes or the grinding sound becomes louder than the radio. There are some easy ways that you can prevent excess wear and tear on your vehicle that can also help with the resale of the vehicle later on.
As all drivers have experienced at one time or another if your vehicle breaks down it is always at the most inconvenient time such as going to the airport! To avoid this from happening through general and regular maintenance your risk of being stranded at the side of the road is greatly reduced.
Not all vehicles are fitted with the same size tyre and they all require different air pressures. To locate the correct amount of air pressure for your vehicle check the tyre placard that is mounted to the vehicle. It will advise you the correct pressure for that particular vehicle. If you cannot locate the tyre placard (common places are the door frame of the vehicle or in the glove box) then refer to your owner’s manual and it will show you the location of the placard. Tip: To remember to check the tyres it is a great idea to do it every time you put fuel in the vehicle. When there is not enough air in the tyre they will wear unevenly making them un-roadworthy before you have used the full life of the tyre. Tyres are not cheap, why wear them out early!
When checking the oil level in the vehicle, remove the dipstick from the engine bay. Wipe with a clean rag and insert back into the engine. After a moment remove the dipstick again to see the level where the oil is on the stick. Depending on the light you may have move the stick to an angle that shows the wetness to where the oil is located. There will be a line indicating when the engine is full of oil. Check with your mechanic as to what type of oil your vehicle runs on, as they are different depending on what type of engine the vehicle has. If you are seeing oil patches in your driveway or garage check your oil levels immediately. Running a vehicle without any oil in it can be very dangerous and can damage the internals of the engine. The last thing anyone wants is to be stranded or have a large engine rebuild bill. Fill up the oil and take it to your mechanic as soon as possible to determine where and how serious the leak is. There are many parts of the engine that have gaskets and seals which deteriorate over time and sometimes there can be leaks from more than one gasket at the same time. To determine where the leak is coming from you need to degrease the engine with degreaser and a high-pressure washer. Once it is clean and the vehicle has been driven for long enough to get the engine hot then the leak should make itself know to have the mechanic know where to start. It is important to note though that some leaks take longer than others to reappear so it could be a couple of days before you can tell where it is coming from.
Water levels are vital to be topped up regularly. The radiator overflow container requires topping up, not the pressurised system. If something comes across your windscreen and the wipers have no water to help wash it over the smear is going to impair the drivers vision. Keep your windscreen washer reservoir topped up with a small amount of soap.
If this reservoir is low then you need to take it into your mechanic. There are two reasons why this would be low and it is either a leak or your brake pads are getting low. Best to call the mechanic and book the first available appointment as this is not something to be put off until you have time.
Headlight, indicator and brake light bulbs can blow on vehicles at any time. Driving at night is dangerous enough, to have a headlight out or your high beam not working is an accident waiting to happen.
Brake lights and indicators are there to show others where you are going and warn them that you are slowing down. Without a simple thing like a bulb not working can cause a lot of damage in the long run. Always change the bulbs as soon as you realise they have blown.
These are only the basic maintenance tips that should be checked on a regular basis. It is not a substitute for regular servicing. Depending on the type of vehicle you own and the type of engine in the vehicle as to how often servicing is required but as a basic guideline, every 10,000kms or 6 months unless otherwise advised by your mechanic.
If you are unsure as to where the reservoirs are in your vehicle ask your mechanic on what they recommend you keep an eye on and how to maintain the vehicle between services.
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