Here’s our top ten tips for helping you keep your car on the road for longer!
Check and replace oil regularly
Regular oil changes are relatively low cost and in the grand scheme of things, can end up saving you a fortune. Running your car whilst it’s low on oil can cause serious damage to your engine and may even ruin it completely. It takes less that 10 minutes to check and can save you a lot of money in the long run!
Tip: always check the oil whilst the car is on a flat surface and carry out the oil check around 5-10 minutes after the engine has been running.
Inspect tyres regularly
Tyres are the only point of contact between your car and the road, so it is extremely important to make sure they are in good condition. Driving a car with the wrong tyre pressure or tread depth can be both illegal and dangerous. 989 motorists were killed or seriously injured in accidents caused by tyre-related problems in the UK from 2010-2014. The legal tyre tread limit is 1.6mm, but the recommended tread depth is between 2-3mm.
Tip: always check tyre pressure when the tyres are cold. You can quickly check your tread depth is legal by using the edge of a 20p. Place it into the grooves of your tyre and check to see if the outer band of the 20p is fully covered. If it is, your tyre is above the legal limit.
Never let your fuel get too low
Running your car on a nearly empty tank can have a detrimental effect on your car. In every car, dirt settles at the bottom of the fuel tank. When you run on a low fuel level, this dirt can be forced into your car’s system, causing your fuel filter to work extra hard to catch it all. If it gets through, it can seriously damage your engine and cause you to fork out hundreds on flushing out the entire fuel system.
Tip: your fuel gauge is not always accurate, so never let your fuel get below ¼ of a tank to avoid damage!
Check your coolant
Coolant is the liquid that prevents your car from overheating. As with the oil, it can be checked visually and takes very little time. If coolant levels get too low, serious damage can be caused due to overheating!
Tip: check coolant levels once the car has cooled down and aim to check it every couple of weeks!
Repair windscreen chips quickly
When you get a chip in your windscreen, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible, regardless of how small it is! Depending on your policy, repairs are usually free and don’t count as a claim on your insurance, so it makes sense to get it fixed before it develops into a much bigger issue. If left, small chips can quickly develop into bigger problems such as larger cracks and can result in a full windscreen replacement, which is both costly and inconvenient.
Tip: avoid tailgating. When there is a greater distance between your car and the one in front, there is more room for stones to fall before hitting your windscreen and causing damage.
Potholes play havoc with your car’s suspension, wheels and tyres causing a third of all vehicle damage in the UK. Being extra vigilant when it comes to potholes can save a lot of hassle and prevent serious damage.
Tip: some potholes are unavoidable. When you have no choice but to strike a pothole, make sure you drive over it slowly, allowing the wheel to roll freely into it to prevent damage.
Taking the extra few seconds to double check you’re putting the right fuel into your car could save you from an absolute catastrophe. Make sure you are 100% certain you have the right pump before filling up your car with fuel.
Tip: if you do find yourself in this dreaded situation, DO NOT turn your engine on. By keeping your engine switched off, you are able to isolate the problem and prevent it from causing further damage.
Clean and wax exterior frequently
Cleaning your car’s exterior not only makes it look good, it also helps to preserve its value. When too much dirt builds up on your car, it can act like sandpaper and cause the paint to weaken and wear down. The problem here lies much deeper than the appearance of the car. When the paint is damaged, it exposes the car’s body to the elements. This can lead to rust and corrosion, causing real damage to the body of the car and decreasing its resale value.
Tip: don’t skip the wax! Waxing creates a barrier between the paint and the elements and acts as protection against rusting and the paintwork as a whole.
Don’t drive whilst tired
When you drive whilst tired, you’re less alert and have slower responses than usual. Help to keep your car (and others!) on the road by avoiding driving whilst tired. 25% of crashes on our roads are due tiredness so it’s important you make sure you’ve had plenty of sleep before you get behind the wheel.
Tip: plan your journeys in advance and factor breaks into your journey. Use our Moto route planner to help map your journey out. You can also stop by and grab a coffee with us, there are plenty of offers every day on our free Moto Deals app!
Make sure your lights work
A car’s lights are all about visibility. They ensure that you’re seen by other road users even in the worst weather conditions. Aside from being illegal, if your lights aren’t working properly, it makes it incredibly difficult for you to see and be seen in dark or bad weather, increasing your chances of a crash massively.
Tip: If there’s nobody around to help you check your lights, face your car headlight/rear lights in the direction of a wall or window. This way, you’ll be able to see if they’re working by their reflection.