What maintenance should I do on my car?

By Julia Freeman

For those who feel capable and able to do their own car maintenance rather than relying on mechanics, there are a wide range of checks that you can do to keep your car running well and safely. It is important to note that this should not be done instead of professional serving, but rather in addition to it.

car broken down

What will I need?

In order to help with this, you will need to have a ‘toolkit’ of useful items. This ideally should consist of:

  • Tyre pressure gauge

  • Tyre tread gauge

  • Jump leads

  • Jack

  • Wheel-removing tool

  • Locking wheel nut key

  • Empty fuel can

  • Torch

  • High-visibility jacket

  • Warning triangle

Below are some basic maintenance tasks and checks that you can carry out yourself, together with some advice as to how to keep problems to a minimum:

Battery

Problems with batteries are the number one cause of breakdowns. Make sure that you replace your battery before it lets you down. Most are guaranteed for between 3 and 5 years but use your own judgement as to when it should be replaced. Batteries often go flat when lights are left on for extremely long periods of time, so don't forget to turn everything off when you get out of your car and lock it. Keep jump leads somewhere in your car just in case you need to boost your battery from another vehicle in an emergency.

Tyres

Every fortnight (if possible), you should check your tyre pressures and the general condition of each tyre, including the spare. Your car handbook should outline the correct pressure levels for your tyres. Look out for any signs of wear, including cuts, cracks, and bulges, and ensure that your tread remains well above the legal minimum of 1.6mm. We recommend 3mm as a minimum to ensure handling isn't compromised. If you feel that any of your tyres are dangerously worn or damaged, contact Protyre for further assistance.

Book A Free Tyre Check

Engine oil

Some cars get through oil at quite a rate, so it’s important to check the level as regularly as is practical. Don’t just wait for the red warning light to appear as the damage to the engine could already be done by that point. Ensure that you use the correct type of oil too.

Water

Overheating is another leading cause of breakdowns, especially during warmer weather. Try and check your coolant every week, ensuring it is topped up so remains between the MIN and MAX marks.

Antifreeze

In colder weather, make sure that you check that your antifreeze is topped up and will last a while.

Windscreen and wipers

Check your windscreen regularly for damage such as chips or cracks. Get any damaged glass repaired as soon as possible. Check that your wipers are functioning correctly and replace once a year.

Lights

Check all your lights for cracks/blown bulbs once a week. Replace as needed and clean every few weeks.

Power steering

Check your hydraulic fluid reservoir and, if necessary, top up with a recommended fluid.

Bodywork

Check your panels for any damage or signs of rusting. You may be able to fix some chips and scratches yourself, but your local garage will also be happy to do this for you.

Book with Protyre

You can book your car in for a service, MOT, tyre check, or other safety check at one of our garages – simply enter your postcode into our search tool to find the nearest Protyre garage to you.

Find My Protyre

Our garages are all staffed by experienced and highly qualified fitters and mechanics. Most of our garages also have a significant stock of tyres from leading manufacturers including Falken, Pirelli, and Bridgestone.

Book A Free Safety Check

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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