SERVICING & ACCESSORIES

 

Simple Car Maintenance Tips

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Below are some Tips for  Simple Car Maintenance however I suggest you always refer to your owner manual and for your Safety have your car inspected regularly by a Mechanic we have a comprehensive listing of Qualified Mechanics on this site.

 If you are unsure of any of these tips please contact a mechanic/dealership  for advice.

To find a Safetrader  mechanic / dealership or tyre dealer just type in the service you require into search box on Home page.

How to check the engine oil

Place  your car at a level spot and turn off your engine. Wait for the engine to cool down and the engine oil to  pour down to the oil pan. Pull out the engine oil dip stick ( if you don't know where the dipstick is refer to your owner manual) Usually it will have a bright handle and be marked engine oil , then wipe off with a clean rag or some tissue and reinsert all the  way back in to its place.

Now take out again and check the level  normally it should be at the full level marked on the dip stick , now check the condition of the oil if its very black its time to change if its slightly brown it will need changing very soon (if its  the colour of coffee mixed with milk this could be a problem possibly coolant mixed  with oil which could be a blown head gasket if so have your car inspected by a mechanic)

How to top up the oil

It would be better to top up the oil with the same brand of engine oil that is already in the  engine add a little at a time and give it about a minute to pour in to the oil pan checking the level after every pour to stop overfilling when you have reached the full mark  reinsert  dipstick and replace cap.

Regular oil changes are very important to keep your engine in good shape.

 

How to check Engine Coolant level

Low  coolant level will cause engine  overheating which may cause serious damage to your engine.

NEVER OPEN THE COOLANT OVERFLOW TANK OR RADIATOR IF THE ENGINE IS STILL HOT !

The coolant level should be between the  LOW and FULL  marks in the coolant overflow tanks .If its lower top it up if there is no coolant in the overflow tank or you have to top it up regularly have your car check in the garage as there could possible be a leak in the coolant tank.

Tyres

Check the tyre pressure regularly  at the very least one a month. Check your owner manual for the correct tyre pressure .

Rotate tyres at every second oil change it will ensure all tyres wear equally.

If you feel vibration when driving at cruising speed have your tyres balanced.

There is a safe limit of thread wear. If the tyres are worn below the limit it is unsafe to drive your mechanic or tyre centre can check this for you also all tyres should have the  E-mark to ensure the meet the minimum EU or International (UNECE) standard in relation to its dimensions , load and speed rating.

Uneven tyre wear indicates  alignment problems. Improper alignment cause increase tyre and suspension components wear and poor handling. In worst case improper alignment may throw your car into a road skid , especially on a wet or slippery road. If your car pulls to the side or feels unstable , have the alignment checked . Correctly done alignment will make your car  driving  a lot more enjoyable.

Taking care of small concerns in time may save you money in the long run.

As soon as you feel there may be something wrong with your car  like any kind of irregular noise ,vibration .Leak or a warning light comes on have your car inspected by a mechanic or dealership as soon as possible it may be unsafe to drive.

Its better to get the small things checked before they turn into big things with a big bill.

We recommend you have your vehicle checked regularly ,a least once a year by a garage / mechanic and not just a visual inspection have it hoisted and major components checked eg. Brakes , suspension as many components cannot be inspected visually.

  

Preparing your car for winter

Your car has a lot to endure during winter cold weather , slippery roads ,  salt and sand on the roads. Any hidden or unknow problems can be made worse in bad weather conditions . On cold mornings problems can arise from old batteries , worn out spark plugs , unchanged oil ,thermostats . Winter driving can be also demanding on bad tyres and worn out wipers and can compromise your Safety so below are a few tips for preparing your car for winter.

  There are a number of things that will need to be checked so pick a day that you have the time to go through all the tips eg. condition of the battery, battery terminal , the engine cooling system ,the condition of the engine antifreeze, all the belts ,brakes , the tyres , windshield wipers and your spare tyre. All your fluids need to be checked and topped up check your owners manual for more specific information.

Its a good idea to have your engine oil changed before winter the fresh oil will make your engine start easier in winter. Check your manual some cars may require winter grade oil during cold seasons.

Take your car to your mechanic/ dealership for oil change and inspection this can save you time and money in the long run.

Have your mechanic check the freezing point and engine coolant condition any problems with the cooling system needs to be rectified before winter. A bad thermostat or small leak will result in long warm up time and little heat from the heater .

 

Consider installing good quality winter tyres in icy or snowing conditions these can be the difference of keeping your car on the road and preventing an accident. Winter tyres are designed to improve your traction on the road in icy or snowy conditions. If you have alloy wheels especially those with wide proformace  tyres consider purchasing winter tyres pre-installed on the wheels instead of changing tyres only as its easy to damage alloy rims during winter and are usually not repairable and also there is less labour involved in changing changing tyres that are already installed on the rim so the charge is usually less and make sure to change all wheels Don't Skimp On Safety and remember winter tyres have better traction on winter roads they are not fool proof so drive safely and remember to change back to your  all weather when the season is over.

 

Tyre Pressure

Check tyre pressure more regularly during winter as correct tyre pressure is important to maintain better traction. If unsure of the correct tyre pressure for your car check your owner manual.

Battery

Unfortunately , there is no way of telling when the battery will decide to quit - sometimes it happens unexpectedly with no pior sign so have your battery checked especially if its more than 2 yrs old and make sure the battery terminals are tight and not corroded as corroded terminals will cause problems.

Windsheild Wipers 

Good visibility is very important so ensure your wipers are in good condition and also check your washer fluid is topped up regularlyand try use a washer fluid that won't freeze. Check washer sprays are working correctly and if not, clean and adjust them accordingly.

Protecting the car body

Its a good idea to wax your car before  winter as this will help persevere the paint. Having your car washed regulary in winter is a good idea as there can be salt and sand on the roads which can cause corrosion also remove  leafs etc that may fall under windscreen side of bonnet this can block water drains and collect  moisture.

Door Locks

Lubricate the door and boot locks so they won't freeze also its a good idea to lubricate hinges and if you have sliding doors also clean and lubricate rails.

Finaly its a good idea to carry  a winter kit below is list of some items that may come in useful.

  • Basic tool kit
  • Ice Scrapper
  • Shovel ( this can be helpful it snowy weather)
  • Tow Cable or Chain
  • Reflective warning triangle
  • High vis Jacket
  • Flash light
  • First aid kit
  • Anti Freeze

Always ensure you and your passengers are wearing seat belts and if you are carrying a child their are correct child restrains.