Car sympathy … contd Car sympathy is very important. Cars are very expensive to run and maintain and it is the law that you keep your vehicle in a road worthy condition. You must have a valid MOT from when the vehicle is 3 years old. the MOT tests are safety of the vehicle and the amount of emissions it puts into the air from it’s exhaust.
This is why it’s important to look after your car/ vehicle , keeping it serviced as regularly as possible. Changing the oil and filters regularly will keep the emissions to a minimum and the car will be more reliable. Not looking after the vehicle will cost you more in repairs and the time it spends off the road. These are the things you can keep an eye on yourself.
Car sympathy … contd
1: Tyres… the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm . You can check this by looking for the wear bars in the tread of the tyre. Also check your tyres for cuts, bulges and abrasions. Tyre pressure is important to both safety and tyre wear. If the vehicle is laden then you need to pump the tyres up a little to compensate for the excess weight. If you have a puncture in the sidewall of the tyre then it will have to be replaced rather than an inner tube placed in the carcass. For when you need to know the appropriate pressures for your vehicle, look in the handbook supplied with it. Always check the tyre pressure when they are cold as hot air expands and so you will not get an accurate reading.
Basic car maintenance courses are very cheap and easy to do. They will teach you the basics for looking after the new love of your life! Your first car is always as important as your first love. why ? I guess we will never know.
2: Check the levels under the bonnet once a week. Check the oil, coolant, screenwash and brake fluid levels. When checking the oil always make sure the engine is cold so you get an accurate reading. Also make sure the car is standing on as flat a surface as possible. Use the dipstick, which on most cars is located at the front of the engine. Pull out the dipstick and wipe with a rag. Push it back into the hole. Then pull the dipstick back out. The oil mark should be in between the max and min marks on the stick. The coolant, brake fluid and screenwash reservoirs all have max and min marks on them. Make sure that you keep the engine bay clean so that you can read the markers and see fluid levels properly.
Never remove the cap on the brake reservoir, leave that to a garage to top up if needed. The fluid is highly corrosive and potentially dangerous. If you need to remove the cap on the coolant then make sure the engine is cold. If the liquid is heated at all it can spirt out of the bottle and into your face. This can cause severe burns and blindness. it may be a good idea to place a rag or towel over the reservoir before removing the cap.
When you apply the handbrake , always press the button in before pulling the lever up. Never over stretch the cable. Just pull the lever up until it feels tight or is level with the base of the seat cushion. It shouldn’t click as it is pulled up because this will smooth off the locking mechanism. This will result in the handbrake not locking into place and rendered useless.
Keep the car clean and polished.
Keep the clean, especially the lights, indicators and windows. Winter is not the easiest time for year for keeping the car looking good but at least keep the lights, indicators and windows clean for obvious reasons.
Polishing the car every so often will help preserve the paintwork from hedge scratches and minor scuffs. Salt scattered on the roads in winter is corrosive, therefore don’t let it build up.
You don’t need to be a mechanic to look after the basics on your car. Doing this will save you a lot of money . You will be assessed on how you treat the car during test. Play nice and the car will perform well. Play dirty and it will not be reliable for you. Basic car sympathy is that simple.