How to keep your car in optimal condition
Your car is a valuable investment, and taking care of it is essential. From regular maintenance tasks to simple but effective DIY tricks, learn how to take care of your vehicle and avoid costly repairs. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or a beginner, these tips will help you keep your car running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Above all, keeping it in top condition ensures your safety while driving.
Here are some tips for keeping your car in optimal condition:
- Follow the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule: Your car’s manufacturer provides a maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Follow this schedule to keep your car running smoothly.
- Check and Top Up the Fluids Regularly: Your car needs a variety of fluids to operate properly, including oil, coolant, and brake fluid. Check these fluids regularly and top them off as needed.
- Keep Your Tyres Inflated: Proper tire inflation is important for safety and fuel efficiency. Check your tire pressure regularly and keep your tires inflated to the recommended level.
- Replace Your Air Filter: Your car’s air filter helps keep debris and contaminants out of the engine. Replace your air filter according to the manufacturer’s schedule.
- Change Your Oil: Regular oil changes are essential for maintaining your car’s engine. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for oil changes.
- Maintain your car’s battery: A faulty battery can cause problems at the worst possible time, just when you are in a hurry to go somewhere. Battery power is needed to start the car and to keep all electrical systems running. If the battery doesn’t hold a charge or does not work properly, you could find yourself stuck somewhere waiting for help to get your car going again.
- Keep Your Car Clean: Regular cleaning can help prevent rust and other damage. Wash your car regularly and wax it periodically to protect the paint.
- Address Problems Promptly: If you notice a problem with your car, don’t wait to address it. Prompt repairs can prevent more serious damage and save you money in the long run.
- Store Your Car Properly: If you’re not going to be driving your car for an extended period, store it properly. Keep it in a garage or covered area to protect it from the elements.
- Drive Carefully: How you drive can impact the health of your car. Avoid aggressive driving and excessive idling. Accelerate and brake gently.
- Pay Attention to Warning Signs: Your car may give you warning signs that something is wrong. Pay attention to these signs, such as dashboard warning lights or unusual noises, and get your car checked out as soon as possible.
Following these tips can help keep your car in optimal condition and prolong its lifespan.
Book a PROFESSIONAL service
The fast-paced lifestyle we lead in modern times, combined with a growing population and the increasing number of vehicles on the road, has transformed our driving conditions considerably. What was considered ‘normal driving’ 30 or 40 years ago is totally different from what we consider ‘normal’ nowadays. But not only that!
Car manufacturers have significantly extended the service intervals for cars driven under ‘normal’ conditions.
But what is meant by ‘normal driving conditions’ for a car?
Normal driving involves a short list of conditions that I would best describe as ‘ideal’ because most drivers do not meet them:
- the vehicle is driven approximately 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year;
- the vehicle is used for an even blend of local and highway driving;
- minimal hills – it’s assumed that the vehicle will be driven on mostly flat or near-flat roads;
- the vehicle is primarily driven in a mild climate with average weather patterns.
And now a question: how many of us can say with absolute certainty that is driving in ‘normal conditions’?
If the driving conditions above are named ‘normal’, what do ‘severe driving conditions’ mean?
If you ask any driver what is meant by severe driving conditions, he will immediately tell you: driving on dusty, dirty or gravel roads, frequently towing or carrying big loads and driving in extreme heat or cold weather or extremely humid conditions.
Not quite right!
Let’s take, for example, the Owner’s manual of a Hyundai Kona. Under “Scheduled Maintenance Services”, you’ll find:
“Follow Normal Maintenance Schedule if the vehicle is usually operated where none of the following conditions applies. If any of the following conditions apply, you must follow the Maintenance Under Severe Usage Conditions.
• Repeated driving short distances of less than 8 km (5 miles) in normal temperature or less than 16 km (10miles) in freezing temperature;
• Low-speed driving for long distances;
• Driving on rough, dusty, muddy, unpaved, gravelled or salt-spread roads;
• Driving in areas using salt or other corrosive materials or in very cold weather;
• Driving in heavy dust conditions;
• Driving in heavy traffic areas;
• Driving on uphill, downhill, or mountain roads repeatedly;
• Towing a trailer or using a camper or roof rack;
• Driving as a patrol car, taxi, or other commercial use of vehicle towing;
• Driving over 170 km/h (106 miles/h);
• Frequently driving in stop-and-go condition.”
Summarising what I have read in the various Owner’s Manuals, I may say that the ‘Severe Driving Conditions’ can include:
- daily stop-and-go driving in traffic;
- sustained highway driving in hot or freezing temperatures;
- frequent short trips (less than 5 miles);
- often driving up and down steep hills or mountains;
- any trips along dusty, muddy, salted, sanded, rough or gravel roads;
- any trips that involve towing a trailer or a camper;
- any trips that involve transporting items via roof rack or car-top carrier;
- intense weather conditions include snow, ice, sleet (or a combination of the three), rain, fog, and hail.
‘Stop-and-go driving in traffic’? Hmm! Really?
It’s no secret that urban driving can be a frustrating experience, especially if you are in a hurry to work. But you may not know how driving in the city can negatively impact your vehicle. For example, stop-and-go driving puts a heavy strain on the brakes, the transmission fluid overheats, causing further problems, tyres wear faster, carbon deposits form due to incomplete combustion, and the engine has poor ventilation and starts to overheat.
If you drive in severe conditions, important components’ change intervals and functionality will be greatly impacted. Under severe conditions, there is considerable gas consumption, premature wear of brakes, tyres and transmission, fluid consumption, filters, carbon deposits, etc.
In conclusion, this assumes that checks of parts that wear out faster (brakes, tyres, transmission, etc.), fluids check, and maintenance must be carried out much more often if you want to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Our workshop located in Finchley ensures reliability and expertise for all your car maintenance and repair needs.