5 Quick Car Maintenance Tips for the New Year

24 Posted: 24th Jan 2023
5 Quick Car Maintenance Tips for the New Year

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to take better care of your vehicle? Whilst our cars rarely make it onto the list, this is one resolution we should make - and stick to! 

Car maintenance doesn’t have to be a laborious task. In fact, many of our tips can be done in just a few minutes with the potential to save you hours (and £s!) on the roadside should something go awry 

So, read on for our 5 quick car maintenance tips to help keep your car on the road throughout 2023.  

  • 1. Oil Level

    We’re all aware we need to keep our fuel topped up along with things like washer fluid – we actively and consciously use them in day-to-day driving. But oil often gets forgotten about – especially if you don’t have an oil sensor to tell you when levels are low. 

    The consequences of oil levels being too high or too low can cause catastrophic engine damage – so make sure you check your engine oil once every couple of weeks at a minimum. 

    Top tip: ensure your car is on a flat, level surface. Reading your engine oil on a hill or sloped driveway can give an inaccurate reading!

  • 2. Coolant / Antifreeze

    Speaking of fluid levels, coolant (also referred to as antifreeze) is another culprit often forgotten but is vital for the day-to-day functioning of our vehicles. Unlike oil, coolant is a closed system so shouldn’t need to be topped up – but still needs to be double checked frequently.  

    Low coolant levels can be an indication that something is wrong, such as a leak, and catching it early is better than your engine freezing or overheating when you’re using it – especially on a busy road! 

    Top tip: You may hear people refer to coolant as antifreeze. Coolant is simply the diluted form of antifreeze! 

  • 3. Engine Air Filter

    Did you know, a dirty air filter could reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 10%? Not only this, but it also has a negative effect on engine power. So, it’s advisable that you check this inexpensive part every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.  

    The air filter is pretty easy to locate, too. Usually found in a black box in the engine bay, your vehicle handbook will likely have guidance on where to find it and how to replace. 

    Top tip: if you live in an area particularly plagued by detritus, then you may find you need to change your filter more often. Regular checks will help you to understand if this is the case!  

  • 4. Brakes and Tyres

    This is a big one. The proper functioning of your brakes is vital to the safety of you and others around you.  

    This check is a bit more involved, but it is invaluable. Start by checking your brake fluid – careful, as brake fluid is highly corrosive – and top it up if low. As usual, your vehicle handbook should have the correct fluid specification for your car.  

    Then, look between the spokes of the wheel and check the outer pad. If there’s less than 3mm of the pad visible, it’s time to get your brakes inspected.  

    Finally, check your brake discs. If you notice any scoring or uneven wear.  

    Top tip: brakes are often red hot after use, so it’s best to do this check before you set off to ensure they’re cool and there’s no risk of burns.  

    While you’re checking your brakes, it’s a good idea to check your tyres, too. 

    First, check them for general wear and tear, splits, or bulges. Then, check your tread depth. Anything less than 1.6mm is illegal, and in winter you should have a minimum of 3mm for optimum traction and grip. You can also incur a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre and points on your licence for illegal tyres. 

    Finally, ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. Underinflated tyres not only account for up to 40% of all road accidents but can also increase your vehicles drag, in turn using more fuel when driving. 

    Bonus tip: You can use a 20p to easily check your tyre tread! Simply pop the 20p into the main tread grooves of your tyre – if the outer band of the coin is obscured, then you’re good to go. If you can see the outer band, it’s best to check them checked and replaced where required. 

  • 5. Number plates and lights

    If you’ve ever driven in the winter, you’ll know this is one of the most overlooked checks – especially when it comes to mud-caked number plates! 

    You should maintain the exterior cleanliness of your car in general, but if you’re strapped for time then your number plates and lights should be your top priority.  

    If your number plate is obscured, you could be fined up to £1,000 - so, it’s in your best interest to ensure it’s free from road grime. At the same time, ensure the plate itself it in a good condition – look for cracks, chips, or water damage.  

    Having obscured lights could also land you a hefty fine, so make sure your headlights, indicators, and brake lights are clean, clear, and ready for the road.

  • Conclusion

    These are just a few of the checks you should be doing on a regular basis, in addition to your yearly service. If your service is coming up, we can help! 

    An annual service includes bigger jobs you can’t necessarily complete yourself without specialist equipment, including the inspection and possible replacement of fluids and components such as: 

    • Engine oil

    • Oil filter

    • Screen wash

    • Sump washer

    • Air filter*

    • Brake fluid*

    • Pollen filter*

    • Antifreeze/coolant* 

    *Full service only 


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