Basic car maintenance – 8 easy ways to maintain your car

Warning light inside car - change engine oil soon

As cars have become more complicated over the years, many drivers have become less comfortable when it comes to doing their own servicing.

Failing to properly maintain a vehicle could end up costing you in the long run, so here are 8 easy ways to help you prolong the life of your car.

1. Maintain your car battery

If you have a second car – or just a car which you don’t use regularly – its battery could degrade if it isn’t used for a long period of time.

You can use a car battery jump starter to get it back on the road again, but this puts unnecessary strain on your battery and may cause further damage if done too often.

The best way to make your car battery last longer is to take it out for a drive at least once a week. This is even more important in the winter months, where the weather is particularly cold.

>>>Read more: How to jump-start a car<<<

2. Change your filters

Your car’s oil and air filter will usually be changed as part of its scheduled service, but it is wise to keep an eye on them yourself in-between appointments.

The filters can become clogged when not maintained, but changing them (particularly your air filter) shouldn’t cause you too much stress – and it’ll be a lot cheaper than getting it done in a garage.

Your vehicle handbook will have everything you need to know about changing your filter but, if you plan on doing so yourself, be sure to use genuine parts, as poor quality filters could potentially damage your engine.

If you’re not confident doing it yourself, contact your local garage who will be able to help you out with an oil and filter change for your car.

3. Keep it cool – even in winter

Perhaps the easiest method of basic maintenance is to regularly use your car’s air conditioning, even in the winter.

Your air conditioning system leaks over time, even more so if it isn’t used.

Does car AC use fuel? Yes, but the savings you make by refusing to use it will soon be lost when you require a car air-con recharge!

For tips on saving fuel when using air-con and much more, check out Bobatoo’s fuel-saving tips here.

4. Check your tyres

Healthy tyres are crucial to a safe car, which is why it is important that you properly maintain them – ideally, you should check your car’s tyres at least once every week.

Your checks should include both your tyre pressure and tyre tread depth, with the legal tyre tread minimum in the UK being 1.6mm. Realistically, you shouldn’t ever let your tread get this low.

You can pick up a tyre tread depth gauge on Amazon for less than £5.

Many modern cars come fitted with an on-board tyre pressure gauge, with the tyre pressure of all 4 tyres shown on a screen that’s built into your dashboard.

The recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle will be stated in your vehicle handbook, but is also available on a sticker inside the driver’s door.

For more information on how you can keep your tyres in good condition, read Bobatoo’s 5 tips here.

5. Keep up with your car’s service schedule

Your car’s vehicle handbook will state just how often you require a service, usually after a set amount of time (eg. every 3 years) or a set mileage (eg. every 10,000 miles).

Outside of these intervals, you should try to take your car in for an annual ‘minor’ service – a cheap car service covering things like oil and filter changes and checking your brakes, steering, gearbox and other major components.

It is also recommended that you take your car in for a major service every 2-3 years, where you will have things like your cabin filter and brake fluid replaced.

6. Watch your weight

It’s important that you keep on top of removing anything from your car which doesn’t need to be there.

Carrying unnecessary weight in your car will increase fuel consumption and puts a strain on components such as brakes, tyres and suspension.

Removing items like a spare tyre, toolkit and jack may seem like a good starting point as they can all be quite heavy, but these should all be kept on-hand in case of emergencies.

7. Invest in some quality car mats

Particularly in the winter – when grit, mud and ice are brought into your car with your shoes – car mats can help to keep the inside of your vehicle in good condition.

Not only that, but car mats like this cheap multi-pack on Amazon are a lot easier to clean than your car’s interior and can even be customised to your liking.

Remember to replace your car mats once they become worn, as they become less and less effective as they grow thinner.

8. Drive with care

By far the cheapest, easiest way to maintain your car is to be considerate while driving it.

There are a number of measures you can take to prolong the life of your car while at the wheel, including:

  • Limiting short-distance driving where possible – the most damage done to your car’s key components is done during the first few minutes of driving, before it has warmed up.
  • Keeping an eye out for warning lights – if one of your warning lights comes on, get your car fixed ASAP to limit potential damage.
  • Putting your car into neutral at traffic lights – if you don’t, your engine is still attempting to get the car moving.

For a range of tips on cutting your driving costs, read Bobatoo’s guide here.

How to know when your car needs a service

If you experience any of the following issues with your car, you should look to get it booked into a garage as soon as you can:

  • A warning light on your dashboard remains on
  • You hear strange noises coming from your car
  • There is smoke or steam appearing from under the bonnet
  • You can feel the car vibrating or pulling when you brake
  • Your car is leaking fluids
  • Your car is no longer comfortable to drive

Cheap car insurance with Bobatoo

No matter how hard you try to maintain your vehicle, accidents can still happen – this is why it is important to have an adequate level of car insurance.

Bobatoo works closely with the best car insurance providers in the UK to make sure that you get the best possible policy for the best possible price. Tap the green button below to get your free, no obligation, quote today!