Your new year’s resolutions for better car care
So, 2021. The old cliché “new year, new me” has never been more relevant as we all look to shake off a decidedly bumpy 2020. As for new year’s resolutions, your car may not be the first subject that springs to mind, but we ask you to spare a thought for your old four-wheeled pal that’s likely spent far too long sat outside, dormant on the street, and is probably in need of some TLC.
There are a few good reasons that better car care in the new year should be on your mind. First, if your car has been sat there doing little to nothing, like many have, there’s plenty of potentially problematic issues that could have had time to develop. Second, carrying out a few car DIY hacks means you’ll save money on unnecessary maintenance and repair bills – which is particularly useful after a financially challenging 2020. Finally, many of the car care tips you’re about to read are relatively easy to carry out, making them accessible to all.
Without further ado, here are your five new year’s resolutions for car repair at home. Plus a note on the bits that are best left to the professionals.
#1: Change the oil
Starting with one that many drivers out there are already doing. Changing the oil is one of the true car maintenance basics, but one which many people still rely on a garage to carry out for them.
For the uninitiated, changing the oil in your car is key to keeping your engine clean and running smoothly. This is because old, dirty oil can cause dirt, particles and other unhelpful residue to accumulate in your engine. In normal times, you should be changing your oil every three months, or every 5,000 miles or so. Right now, amid lockdown life, you’d be forgiven for extending that window a bit further.
An oil change requires few tools and boils down to a few simple steps.
#2: Change the coolant
Your engine coolant is instrumental in regulating your engine temperature, preventing it from overheating, but also freezing in sub-zero temperatures. Your coolant doesn’t need replacing as often as your oil, but that doesn’t mean it’ll last forever – a change every 30,000 miles or so is often recommended. However, you should be checking your coolant levels much more regularly (as often as once a week).
#3: Replace the filter
One of the more cheap and cheerful car maintenance tips and tricks is checking and changing the air filter on your car. It can make a massive difference to your vehicle’s efficiency and performance. Particularly for older, used cars, a clean air filter can increase fuel efficiency, while other benefits include reduced emissions and prolonged engine life.
It’s a quick and inexpensive fix that should be carried out every 15,000-30,000 miles, or every three years.
#4: Change the spark plugs
As the parts responsible for igniting the fuel and air in your car’s internal combustion chamber, keeping your spark plugs firing nicely means you’re ensuring optimal efficiency and performance from your engine. Over time, your plugs will wear out - only every 80,000 miles or so - but it’s essential you get them changed when they do.
Doing the spark plug change yourself will make a process that can cost upwards of three figures much cheaper, making it one of the more economically sound car DIY hacks.
#5: Replace the windscreen wipers
If you’re wincing to the sound of your wipers scraping across your windscreen every time you put them on, it might be time to change the blades. You won’t realise the value of a properly functioning windscreen wiper until you don’t have one. Old and worn blades cause marks and streaks that can affect your in-car visibility considerably at a time when you need it most.
The fitting process for windscreen wiper blades is fairly uniform across all cars, and it’s very simple to carry out.
The stuff best left to the pros
Of course, while we’d encourage you to carry out a bit of car repair at home where possible, the car care tips above will only get you so far. As a service and MOT provider ourselves, we know all too well that there are plenty of car repair requirements that go well beyond the average person’s skill level and are best left to the professionals. If you’ve got issues relating to any of the following, your car probably should be heading into the garage:
· Clutch repair
· Air conditioning repair
· Battery failure
· Replacing the windscreen
· Anything relating to the air bags
· Anything relating to the gears
· Any electrical or wiring matters
The good news is that being diligent and carrying out a few car maintenance tips and tricks on a regular basis yourself will help to prevent many of the more serious and costly issues listed above from occurring. If you’re looking for any parts relating to these fixes, don’t forget about our parts hub and call and collect process that will help you get the bits you need to get the job done yourself.
Who knows what 2021 will bring? While we wait to find out, you can make sure you don’t face any nasty surprises from your vehicle with our car DIY hacks for the new year.