Putting off car care? Stop stalling

Car maintenance

This may come as a shock, but if there's a problem with your car, chances are it won't disappear if you just leave it. Instead, it will probably put a strain on your car, and the damage might get worse over time, meaning that when you do decide to have it repaired, it's more expensive and inconvenient. And some problems, of course, are dangerous and need to be fixed as soon as possible. Plus, things like fuel economy can be affected if your engine isn't working properly.

If one of your dashboard warning lights comes on, showing a fault with the brakes, oil, coolant levels or tyre pressure, always check it out straightaway. Here are some other car care and car maintenance tips to keep your car in good condition…

Oil: the AA recommends checking your oil level fortnightly, and again before a long journey. You should also check your power steering, brake, transmission and windscreen washer fluids and coolant regularly; the AA recommends once a month for power steering fluid and once a week for coolant (which needs to be done when the engine is cold).

Tyres: the AA recommends checking your tyres every fortnight. Check the pressure to make sure it isn't too high, either at a petrol station or at home with a tyre pressure gauge – the recommended pressures will be in your car manual. You also need to check the tread – the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm.

Windscreen wipers: check for damage if they're not cleaning your windscreen properly, or are juddering or squeaking.

Brakes: if the pedal is vibrating, the car feels as if it's pulling to one side when you brake, or your brakes seem less effective than normal, there may be a problem. You can check your brake pads by looking through your wheels – the pad is the material that’s pressing against the circular disc, and you should be able to see at least 3mm of material on the outside. A screeching or grinding noise when you brake requires immediate attention.

Lights: check all your lights – indicators, reversing lights, brake lights and fog lights – once a week.

The importance of servicing

Your car should usually have a full service every year or so – the manufacturer’s manual will tell you how often is necessary. All the electrical and mechanical parts will be checked to make sure they are working correctly and in good condition, and fixed if necessary.

Even if your car seems to be working fine, you should stick to the recommended service schedule. It allows you to spot any problems early, it may be a condition of your warranty, and being able to show a full service history will make your car easier to sell.

When you buy from Maidstone and Harlow car dealers Carwise Group, you know you've chosen a reputable used car dealer – and can enjoy peace of mind. Plus, our in-house technicians also offer car servicing, so you know you can bring your car back to someone you trust every year to keep it in top condition. We also offer a variety of vehicle finance deals.

To test drive one of our used cars for sale, call our Kent dealership on 01622 233151, or our Essex dealership on 01279 216163.