When you buy a car, you take on a certain onus of responsibility to look after it as best as possible to help prolong its lifespan. Given a car represents the single second-largest investment most of us will make in our lives, it’s in your best interests to keep your vehicle running as well as you can for as long as is possible.
Below are some very simple checks you can perform that will help keep your vehicle running longer and avoid developing any significant problems.
Lights, battery and electrics
Modern cars are full of electrical components (and, increasingly, computers) that are essential to keep you safe and keep the car running. At the very basic level, you should regularly check your car battery (particularly if you’ve already moved to an electric model), but you should also check other more minor – but equally important – parts.
For example, you should have someone walk around your car while you’re inside to check all external lights are working as they should – everything from your indicators to headlights and number plate lights. If you have an SUV, you may also have additional lights that need checked and possibly replaced by a specialist supplier. For example, if you have a Toyota, SUV you might need to replace led lighting for your 4runner – plus any other additional lighting rigs you might have installed.
Fuel – or, in the case of e-cars, battery
It should be a given, but you’d be surprised just how many people run out of fuel while out on the road. Before setting off, ensure you have sufficient fuel to complete your journey (or at least make it to the nearest gas station). This becomes all the more important with electric cars, where running out of juice could see you ending up high and dry with no way of powering the vehicle. While charging points are thankfully becoming more common, you should check your journey requirements before leaving.
It’s estimated one in three cars on the road is running on low oil levels. You should regularly check the dipstick in your engine to make sure the oil level sits consistently between the two markers. Low oil can cause significant engine damage, so don’t take unnecessary chances. Top up frequently.
Regularly check your engine coolant levels
Without engine coolant, your car will fail to start on a cold day or overheat when it’s hot. Before setting out on a journey, you should ensure your coolant levels are where they should be (ideally, check when the engine is cold).
Ensure you have sufficient tire tread depth and that they’re inflated correctly
Bulges or splits in your tires could lead to a blowout – which can be particularly dangerous at high speed. You should regularly check your tires for existing or potential problems and also ensure you have sufficient tread (especially important for driving in winter conditions). Also, you should verify that tires are inflated to the correct levels – both from a safety and fuel consumption perspective.