Discover Mechanical

General Car Maintenance

Keeping your car in top condition doesn't mean leaving all the maintenance until your next service. There are a few regular checks that you should do to avoid getting caught out or hit with a huge bill from your mechanic. Keeping your car well maintained ensures that it not only holds value for resale but it is also safer, runs more efficiently and saves you money at the service centre.

Creating a checklist to adhere to regularly between servicing is the best way to ensure your vehicle drives well and saves you time and money. Noting down things that you change, such as the date of windscreen wiper blade and light bulb replacements, can assist your mechanic in making informed decisions whilst servicing, which will save you money.

General car maintenance includes:
  • Oil and fluids 
  • Lights 
  • Brakes 
  • Tyres 
  • Belts and tubes 
  • Battery 
  • Handbrake 
  • Windscreen wipers and fluid 
  • Warning indicators 


Oil and Fluids
Keeping track of your engine oil levels is crucial to maintaining the condition of your car's engine. Bad oil or extremely low levels can cause internal damage and has the potential to run servicing costs into the thousands.

Checking your engine oil is as simple as retrieving the dipstick found at the top of the engine block, wiping it off with a rag, replacing it, then pulling it out again. Dipsticks display a minimum and maximum level - the oil should be level with the maximum line when the engine is cold. If you're unsure, turn to your owner's manual for location and optimum levels, or ask your BestDrive technician to show you at your next service.

Other fluids that can be found in the engine bay are power steering, radiator and windscreen wiper fluids. These are generally visible with level indicators shown. If you are unsure, check with your owner's manual or your BestDrive technician.

Lights
Checking your lights regularly for a blown bulb is your best option for avoiding such a discovery whilst driving at night. Changing light bulbs can be a tricky operation, which is why booking in with a BestDrive technician to do this is worth the time and money.

Lights to check include:
  • Headlights 
  • Tail lights 
  • Indicators 
  • Reverse lights 
  • Parking lights 


Tyres
Tyres play a pivotal role in the safety of yourself and other road users. Completing a few simple, regular checks can avoid an unwanted blowout or accident. Check your tyres visually for bulges or uneven wear before getting an accurate pressure reading on each tyre using a digital gauge. The correct tyre inflation will ensure the maximum life from your tyres.

Most modern tyres have a tread wear indicator used to indicate the minimum legal tread depth. The location of tread wear indicators is shown by the letters TWI or a small triangle stamped on the edge of the tread. The closer to this tread wear indicator your tyres are wearing, the more urgently you need to change them. Once the tyre tread is level with the tread wear indicator, they are unroadworthy and must be changed by law.

The age of your tyres must also be taken into consideration. Even if you don't drive regularly, and your tyres have plenty of tread wear left, you need to be aware that they perish naturally, over time. Check the manufacture date of your tyres - once they are more than five years old, have them inspected annually by the professionals at BestDrive.

Belts and Tubes
While you're inspecting things such as the engine oil and other fluids, it's a good time to have a look at your fan belts and tubes for any signs of wear or degradation. Cracks and areas of discolouration are indicators that the materials are degrading and could be in need of replacement.

Battery
Your battery is located under the bonnet in the engine bay. When you're looking at the battery, check the terminals for erosion, chemical build up, or any other form of degradation. If there's a chemical build up - a wire brush is a great way to clean your battery terminals. Ensure that the battery isn't bulging also, as this is a sign of a malfunction.

Handbrake
Your handbrake is extremely important in keeping your car stationary whilst parked. A faulty handbrake can cause damage to the components of your system, or worse - fail completely, which could be disastrous. If you are unsure, find a steep hill to test your handbrake on. If your vehicle begins to roll back, book your vehicle in for a service at BestDrive and have it assessed.

Windscreen Wipers and Fluid
It will become very apparent if you need new wiper blades. Worn blades will leave marks or water residue on your windscreen while in use. Blades can be found at your local auto store or they can be replaced by a BestDrive technician. Your wiper fluid can be found in the engine bay and will have indicators for maximum levels. Water or a mix of water and a small amount of dishwashing soap is the best option.

Warning Indicators
If there are any warning lights on your dashboard, have them checked at your local BestDrive. Warning lights are generally an indicator that something needs attention on the vehicle. The cause for each warning light can be found in your owner's manual, but if you're unsure you can contact your local BestDrive store for more information.

BestDrive. You drive, we care.

Discover More Mechanical

Lights and Reflectors

There are precautions which you can take to feel safer and be better prepared while driving at night.

Read more

General Car Maintenance

Keeping your car in top condition doesn’t mean leaving all the maintenance until your next service.

Read more

Discover More Tyres

What Axle Should New Tyres Go On

For best vehicle handling, all 4 tyres should be the same, have the same tread depth and be inflated to specifications.

Read more