We’d all like to think that our car will keep on going for years and years with only minor repairs and replacements required. For most of us, however, that isn’t the case and we eventually reach the inevitable point where it costs more to run our current motor than to invest in a newer one.
But there is plenty we can do to delay that moment. It’s not simply a question of ensuring the annual service and MOT are completed on time. Here’s how to take care of your car so that it goes the distance.
For starters, there are several things you can do to make the car engine last. Changing the oil and air filters help to keep things running smoothly under the bonnet. A clogged air filter not only means you’re breathing less easily, it also means your engine could be under performing. Ensure they’re changed during scheduled services, and wash the air filter on occasion to keep it clean.
Maintaining the correct level of coolant will keep your engine well lubricated and running for longer. A failure in the cooling system can cost thousands, so keeping the fluid topped up is a simple way to ensure your car operates well.
Finally, check the spark plugs and high-tension leads to maintain engine performance. There should be no signs of wear, melting or deposits and that leads are not cracked or heavily worn. If you spot some damage of this sort, pop your vehicle into the garage.
Another tip for how to keep a car in good condition is to use the air conditioning on a regular basis. Many drivers don’t because it impacts fuel economy, but leaving the air-con off can result in a bill for re-gassing due to refrigerant leakage. Blow it through at least a couple of times a week, and let it blow cold in winter sometimes too.
Inspect the tyres regularly for lumps, bulges and cuts to ensure they’re in a roadworthy condition. You’ll also need to keep the pressure at the figure recommended in the manufacturer manual, so inflate or deflate as necessary every couple of weeks. This will maintain performance and fuel economy.
The tyre tread depth must also be within the legal limit – at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. Not only will this help you avoid fines, it’ll also ensure that you have adequate grip on the road, no matter what the conditions.
Washing your car is about more than just having a shiny ride. It removes excess dirt and grit, preventing it from getting into the moving parts and speeding up wear and tear. Give the paintwork a polish once a year as well to provide some protection against scratches.