DIY motoring skills: When you know car maintenance basics, you can save a lot of money and stress. There’s nothing worse than taking your car to the garage only to find out that you could’ve prevented an issue in the first place. Luckily, three of the simplest checks could keep you on the roads for longer – and learning how to perform them only takes a few minutes.
Car maintenance at home: A quick guide to three DIY motoring skills
Why are basic motoring skills important?
It’s no secret that the cost-of-living crisis is putting UK drivers under more strain.
Recent studies suggest that almost half of UK drivers put off repairs this year due to financial pressures, with over a third worried that their car will break down as a result. But this shouldn’t be a reason not to learn how to maintain your car at home.
For many drivers, the ideal world would feel like getting in the car and just driving without an issue, but all cars inevitably need maintenance or repairs. You need to be able to rely on your vehicle on every journey, even if you’re driving on short term car insurance for a special trip.
When the time comes around for the annual MOT test, simple checks could increase your chances of a first-time pass, too.
Which basic car checks should all drivers know about?
1. Checking fluids
Keeping your car’s fluid levels above minimum is vital. It would be best if you kept an eye on:
- Windscreen washer fluid: Keeping your windscreen clean helps you to drive safely. You can only see the road clearly without smears or other grime on your windscreen, especially at night. During winter, make sure you choose a washer fluid that won’t freeze at low temperatures. The opening is found under the bonnet, usually to the side, and indicated with a small symbol on the cap.
- Engine coolant/antifreeze: Coolant serves a crucial purpose. It prevents your engine from overheating through hot and cold weather, so it’s vital to ensure that your coolant levels are topped up all year round – especially if you drive an older vehicle.
- Engine oil: Oil keeps the moving parts in your engine properly lubricated. Changing the oil and oil filters is a bigger job, but you should carry some suitable oil for your vehicle with you on longer journeys in case you need to top it up. Your car will give you a warning light if it’s running low, and you should never ignore it.
2. Changing air filters
Diesel and petrol vehicles both have air filters. The setup is similar on most cars, and you’ll find it inside the cold air intake underneath the bonnet. This job isn’t as complex as changing the oil or replacing spark plugs, so it’s a good place to start if you’re new to vehicle DIY.
Clean air filters are essential for keeping your engine healthy. They can be changed using the following steps:
- Pop the bonnet and find the filter housing. It’s usually a plastic box on top of or to the side of the engine, with a hose protruding from its side.
- Open the filter housing and remove the old filter, making note of the attachment and closure types to make re-fastening easier. Take care in case any wiring or electrical components are attached to it. Remove any dust or dirt in the housing by wiping it with an old cloth.
- Inspect the old filter. If it’s not dirty, it doesn’t need changing yet. You could also check this by tapping the filter to see if any dust falls out.
- Place the new filter inside the housing, making sure to insert it with the rubber rim facing upwards. Check that it’s seated properly.
- Return the top of the housing and put the fasteners back on. That’s the final step – you’ve saved a trip to the garage!
3. Tyre maintenance
Did you know that the quality and condition of your vehicle’s tyres could affect its chances of passing an MOT? Knowing how to check the tread depth, check and top up your tyre pressure, and even change a wheel yourself could come in handy and save you a lot of cash too.
You can check your tread depth using a 20p coin to ensure that it falls within the legal limit. And when it comes to removing a wheel to swap for a space saver when you get a flat, make sure you get a trained mechanic to explain the process – but once you know, the same method applies to all cars.
Which tools and equipment should you keep at home?
Lastly, if you’re ready to start maintaining your car at home between services, there are a few essential items to help you make light work of each job. A few must-haves include:
- A funnel: For pouring fluids from large containers into small openings.
- A jack: To raise your car and keep you safe while you work underneath it, or with a wheel.
- Toolkit: At a minimum, containing a screwdriver, wrench, torque wrench, impact wrench, tyre pressure gauge and pliers.
What DIY motoring skills do you find most valuable, or do you have additional car maintenance tips not covered here?
*Disclosure: Collaborative Post
Thanks for stopping by,
Love you all ❤️