Having written a post recently about payment options when purchasing a car I thought I would follow this up with a post about car maintenance. As a mum it’s important to me to make sure that our car is suitably maintained for safety reasons primarily but also because I have 3 children and if something happened whilst out and about it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience as I learnt the hard way not that long ago.
I went to collect my girls from school. On returning to my car with Mr Squishy in his pushchair and the girls on either side I discovered my tyre had gone down. After looking in the back of the car I realised my husband had yet to return the spare after getting it changed as we had discovered it had a nail in it a few weeks back. As if that wasn’t enough he had also ‘stolen / borrowed’ my tyre pump. Cue the violins. I was stuck at school with 3 children the older two complaining mummy I’m hungry (seriously do they not get fed at school!) with no spare and no means to pump up the tyre to at least get me home. Thankfully Mr Squishy was enjoying the excitement and was quite happy watching the chaos in front of him.
Did I mention I am not a member of any of these car rescue service so had to call the daddy rescue service instead. All the while in my head was oh no we have to get the homework done and the kids fed, bathed, relaxation time and then in bed early enough so they get a good night’s sleep.
With daddy rescue on its way I set to work getting the girls to start their reading and then even made it to the spellings before daddy arrived to save the day although I could have done it myself with the correct tools. On arriving home ‘the husband’ was tasked with getting the tyre fixed or replaced asap before the following days school run. Thankfully I was saved the task of changing the tyre as I have struggled with this in the past. For me it’s like taking the lid off a jar for the first time and frankly I would rather avoid the hassle and embarrassment. I did a search online to include in this post (aren’t I super helpful) and came across a company called Point S who are simple to use, just type in your tyre size or if you don’t know it your car registration number (lol, I must admit I don’t know this either, thankfully it’s on the car). Then you just select the centre located closest and reserve your tyres. I was drawn to this company as they offer a good service, they have locations nationwide, there is no messing about with the price (I have no patience for that).
Having decided to take matters into my own hands I decided to take more responsibility for the basic maintenance of the car. It can’t be that hard can it?
Well actually no, basic car maintenance is super simple and you can even cheat a bit lol. This is a quick list of what you need to do.
10 Car Checks you can Easily do Yourself
1. Check car tyre pressure. By checking this weekly you help to reduce fuel costs, it also makes driving easier. You can check this at petrol stations and they generally have a guide to help you. Alternatively find out what the pressure should be and get your own gauge it’s so much easier.
2. Check the tread depth. Again simple as most tyres come with tread wear bars built into them. The legal limit for car tyre tread depth is 1.6mm but needless to say the deeper the tread the more grip you have. Take a look at this useful video for information about part worn tyres. It goes without saying buy new NOT part worn.
3. Check your oil level. It’s super easy to do I learnt when I first started driving. If the level is too high or too low it can affect the engine.
4. Check the coolant level, again important as it affects the engine. Information as to where this is should be in your car handbook and it is thankfully simple to do. Not confident about it, Halfords or your local garage can show you how to do this for a small fee.
5. Check windscreen wash levels. It is a legal requirement that the windscreen system in the car works and you need to make sure you keep it topped up. Not sure how you can do this at your local garage or Halfords for a small fee. My suggestion, go to Halfords, buy the screenwash and then get them to show you what to do so you have some ready for next time and know what you’re doing.
6. Check the windscreen for chips (not the variety that can be paired well with vinegar). These can be repaired if caught early but if you leave it too long may develop into a crack and then the whole windscreen will need replacing (a costlier process).
7. Check your windscreen wipes are cleaning and not smearing the screen.
Don’t worry I’m almost finished!
8. Make sure your toolkit is in the car. If tyres are removed by forgetful husband’s nag at them to put them back lol (asking nicely also helps as well as bribing not to feed them if they don’t do it). I would also suggest a tyre pump (electric), emergency triangle, jack and wheel removing tools.
9. Check lights regularly. Make sure firstly they are working and secondly they are not caked in mud or anything equally yucky to reduce light flow. Quick story, my car was covered in bird poo once, as in ¾ of it was covered when I’m guessing a flock of geese or herd of elephants flew over. I really wish I had a photo right now it’s one of those things you need to see to believe!!!
10. Check the car bodywork and get rust treated asap as like a rash it likes to spread.
For those a bit nervous about doing any of the above mentioned checks as I mentioned both Halfords and your local garage will show you how to do them. My suggestion would be to Halfords as they are great with this sort of thing, I have visited them to buy light bulbs and had them fit the bulbs for me. Learning how to do this yourself will of course reduce the risk of problems occurring such as my experience and also save you money in the long run.
I also have my lights changed sometimes when I go for an MOT as they like to stop working just before I go – sods law!!!! For anyone that has a memory like mine you might also like to keep this link to an MOT checker handy. This is pretty useful as you can check your MOT expiry date really fast. It is best to be safe than sorry.
Have you had a bad experience like mine before? why not share your story with me and my readers.
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