The car maintenance checks to do before winter
When was the last time you checked the oil levels in your car? How about your tyre pressure and treads?
Checking and maintaining our cars is something we should all be doing – especially now that winter is coming. But sometimes our vehicle’s welfare is something that’s left until something goes wrong.
So don’t get caught short this winter. Here’s our top maintenance checks to conduct this season (and the next).
Don’t neglect your tyre tread
The AA recommends checking your wheels every two weeks, which makes sense considering they are the only part of the car that comes into contact with the road surface. And, along with helping to steer your vehicle, your tyres play a vital role when it comes to braking too.
We’ve spoken before about the lifespan of your tyres. Usually, most new tyres come with a tread of 8,9 or 10mm, but the legal limit for driving is 1.6mm.
However, during winter we’d recommended that you don’t drive with a tread of less than 3mm.
How to check: To test your tyre tread, stick a 20p piece in the tyre’s groove. If the outer band of the coin is obscured by the tyre, then your tyres are all good.
Keep up the pressure
Along with the tread, you should also check your tyre pressure. Keeping your tyres inflated to the correct pressure can extend their life, keep your vehicle safe and maximise fuel efficiency – a factor that’s especially important, given that the UK’s fuel prices have reached an all-time high.
How to check: To find out the recommended tyre pressure for your motor, look in your handbook or check inside the edge of the driver’s door.
Check your oil
Running low on engine oil is no fun. It’s no fun for you. And it’s no fun for your motor. In fact, running on empty could cost you big in the long run, especially if it leads to lasting engine damage.
But thankfully, inspecting your oil levels is easy to do and can be done in minutes. Some more modern cars are even designed with electronic oil monitors, so you can inspect your oil levels at the press of a button.
How to check on manual cars:
1. Pop open your bonnet and locate the dipstick.
2. Wipe all the oil off with an old cloth until clean.
3. Pop the dipstick back into the oil tube for a minute and then lift it out again.
4. If the level is halfway between the minimum and maximum levels – you’re all good.
5. If it’s below the minimum, it’s time to top up.
Yes, your lights are all checked as part of your yearly MOT. But, as we know all too well, a lot can happen in the course of a year.
According to study by Halfords, 4.6million cars in the UK have broken or defective headlights. And a shocking 7% of drivers admitted to never checking that their lights are in working order.
How to check: Simply turn your car lights on and walk around the outside of the vehicle to check both the headlines and taillights are in working order.