Vehicle maintenance checks that motorists can do themselves

13th March 2013

Motorists have been encouraged to take some time out of their day and carry out vehicle maintenance checks on their car themselves, instead of resorting to getting the experts out every time a single issue is spotted.

Tracey Virtue, the director of operations strategy for AutoMD.com, acknowledged to the Chicago Tribune that “it takes a chunk of your day to deliver the vehicle to someone else” to fix a problem that a driver may have been capable of doing at home.

In fact, Ms Virtue is confident that “there's a lot you can do that's easy” when it comes to keeping a beloved car in tip-top condition, with many tasks not needing to cost the earth and only taking a few minutes to complete.

For example, wiper blades are items on a vehicle that motorists can replace without the requirement of assistance from a garage mechanic.

This is because many of these products come with instructions on the package, which should be simple to follow. “It's really easy and cheap to do it yourself,” Ms Virtue underlined.

On the topic of a car’s wiper blades, Pam Oakes, an ASE-certified technician in Fort Myers, has also been keen to stress to the Chicago Tribune that these items should be kept clean to expand their lifespan. All that is required to complete this task is some paper towels and a good kitchen cleaner.

Elsewhere around the vehicle, drivers should have little problem if a headlight, brake light, tail-light or turn signal indicator flicker out and needs changing. All of these items are easy to access and usually only requires a motorist to turn the bulb to remove it.

However, Ms Oakes, who is also the author of the book ‘Car Care for the Clueless’, pointed out that replacing more expensive, high-intensity headlight lamps are better left to the skills of the professionals.

Where a car’s light bulbs are concerned, ensuring that the units are kept clean could once again make all the difference.

This is because older vehicles in particular can develop a haze over their headlights, which not only reduces how far a driver can see ahead of them but also limits the likelihood of another road user seeing the car in question.

Stepping inside the car, if a driver notices that a vehicle’s interior lighting is not working or the dashboard lights have flickered out, there is a good chance that this is because a fuse has blown.

In order to rectify the problem, simply establish what part of a car’s interior is no longer functioning and replace the fuses one at a time by pulling the old fuse out and then pushing a new one in. If this does not sort out the issue though, motorists are wise to seek out expert help instead of trying to mess with a car’s electrics too much.

Obviously when it comes to popping open a vehicle’s bonnet, drivers should not need any professional assistance to check and top up a car’s wiper fluid, engine coolant, brake fluid and antifreeze.

However, many motorists may not realise that removing an old battery and putting a new unit in its place requires only minimum tool skills. While working on a car’s battery, drivers should also give the device’s terminals a good clean, as a white coating of acid often builds up over time.

ATS Euromaster has a nationwide network of centres if you feel like your car is in need of a service.

Posted by Drivers can save money by carrying out some simple vehicle maintenance tasks using their own skills