Do I need to check my car for maintenance issues every week?

By David Sholicar

Most owner's manuals suggest a maintenance schedule, but there’s a difference between scheduled maintenance and monitoring the health of your vehicle.

Woman checking tyre tread

Skipping regular checks can be a false economy. Bus and haulage companies mandate a weekly checklist, and with good reason.

Windscreen

Wipers perish after a year or so, even if you haven’t used them extensively, so check they still clear your windscreen. Washer fluid is a legal requirement so it's important to check the level. Using proper additives will remove road grease and prevent freezing in winter. Also, look for any chips and cracks.

Lights

Check that all your lights are working. If you need to change a bulb, never touch the glass with the naked hand because invisible grease from human skin can make them fail before the end of their lifespan. Poor beam alignment is the reason for a significant percentage of MOT failures. It is quite difficult to check but you can get help from the qualified fitters at Protyre.

Battery

Brush any corrosion off your terminals and look for any cracking, heating or stiffening in your cables. We don’t recommend home-charging batteries except in an emergency because many chargers are poor quality. You can get free battery checks at motoring shops and Protyre garages. Unless the vehicle has been unused for a while, a low battery suggests it may require replacement or you may have an issue with your alternator.

Did you know?
Protyre offer free battery checks at many of our garages. Why not get in touch with your local Protyre garage and book your vehicle in?

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Brakes and fluids

Let your engine oil settle before checking its level. It should be a shade of brown with no visible particles. When checking transmission fluid level, the engine should be running or have recently run. Brakes and power steering also depend on fluids. Protyre garages will check them for free.

Radiator coolant

In summer, your main concern is likely to be low levels. Before winter you will need to ensure that the system contains sufficient antifreeze.

Tyres

Look for tears, cracking and any foreign objects every week. You will need to rotate them by moving the vehicle in order to check the entire tread surface. It is just as important to check the inner sidewalls as the outer ones. Monitoring your tyre wear will help you budget for your next replacement set. If they’re wearing too quickly we can recommend more durable options (for example, Falken Ziex Ecoruns and Falken Euroall Seasons offer a good balance of durability, grip and price).

Regular car maintenance should definitely include weekly tyre pressure checks. This isn’t only for safety, soft tyres reduce your fuel economy and damage the sidewalls whilst under- or over-inflation accelerates wear, reducing tyre life. If you spot uneven wear, ask Protyre for wheel alignment and suspension checks.

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Filters

Your cabin air filters should be good for a year or more but check them more often. They are very easy to change. The engine air filter needs checking occasionally because it degrades performance when dirty.

Underside checks

Is your exhaust pipe dragging along the ground? While you’re checking the exterior, pressure wash mud from under your wheel arches because this protects your bodywork from corrosion.

If you are in any doubt, the friendly team at your local Protyre garage will be happy to offer free checks and expert advice.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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