How to maintain your car

When you’ve spent a lot of money on your car, it’s important that it lasts a long time and serves you reliably. By maintaining your car properly, you can keep it in first rate condition, helping to avoid costly faults and to retain more of its value.

Follow these steps to keep your car properly maintained and you’ll reap the benefits later on down the line.

Step 1 – Regular servicing

Get your car serviced regularly. Vital components of your car need checking and often replacing after lots of wear and tear, and only a professional technician can tell you about any problems. During the service, they’ll give your car a health check and refresh a number of essential liquids. It may seem expensive, but it is important to keep your car performing safely and well. You could avoid the hefty bill by taking out a service plan which spreads the cost over a number of months.

Step 2 – Check the outside

When we’re in a rush to get on the road, it’s easy to miss any damage on the outside of our cars. Take the time once every couple of weeks to cast your eye over your car. Check that the lights are working with the help of a family member, colleague or friend, and check for any dents or problems with the windows and windscreen. It’s important that you get any damage fixed quickly before it causes a bigger problem.

Step 3 – Monitor your dashboard

As soon as any warning lights come up on the dashboard, stop somewhere safe and check the manual. It will tell you what the lights mean, and you may be able to fix the problem yourself, for example, if the tyre pressure monitor light comes on. If the problem is more serious, contact your garage immediately.

Step 4 – Cambelt replacement

The cambelt is an important part of the engine and if it breaks it can cause lots of damage, making it costly to repair. Your car’s manual should tell you when it needs to be replaced, which is in general after around 70,000 miles. Make sure you check your manual and keep your eye on your mileage so you can book a replacement appointment on time before it wears down too much.

Step 5 – Tyre check

Healthy tyres are vital to your car’s safety and performance. They need to have thread of over 1.6mm by law and to have the correct amount of inflation for your car. Place a ruler in your tyre tread to check the level and remember to visit the air pump every couple of weeks. It’s also a good idea to check for any damage like cracks or splits as you might need to replace them.

Step 6 – Oil check

Oil helps to keep engine parts lubricated and it’s important that your car has a healthy amount of oil. You should check it regularly by reading the dipstick. First, remove the dipstick and wipe off any oil. Then put it back in and take it out again to get the true reading. The dipstick should have oil on it between the minimum and maximum markers. Oil should be light brown and transparent. If there is an incorrect amount or it looks to be an odd colour, contact your garage to have it replaced.

Step 7 – Coolant and screenwash levels

Keeping your coolant and screenwash liquids topped up will help your car to function properly. You should see liquid up to the minimum and maximum lines in the tanks. If they are low, top them up, and remember to add antifreeze before it gets too cold outside. Your windscreen washing system must be working by law, so make sure you keep it topped up.

Step 8 – Proper cleaning

Paintwork is special, and keeping it in mint condition will make sure it stays looking good as new. You can damage paint by cleaning it incorrectly, so make sure you wash your car when it is cool and use proper cleaners. These must be soft enough to prevent any scratches while still removing tough stains. You can buy these from auto shops.

If you would like any more tips from the servicing experts SMC Group, call your nearest dealership or send us an enquiry online. We are more than happy to help you keep your prized possession in the condition it deserves.