Monthly Car Maintenance Plan
I use my business wall calendar to remind me when to do my car maintenance throughout the year. I choose to do this monthly and usually at a weekend when I’m at home. Some motoring websites suggest a weekly vehicle check but that’s surely for long distance and professional drivers. I’m always far too busy to do this more often than monthly and I choose to drive a car that is well known for its reliability.
I’m always surprised by the number of motorists who fail to associate poor vehicle maintenance with an unreliable car. Sure, as eggs are eggs, neglect your car, even a new-ish one, and it’ll let you down at the most inconvenient time causing you and others unnecessary stress.
So, if you don’t want to be that motorist whose car won’t start the one dark winter morning you’re driving to an all-important meeting, airport or train station, here are some useful pre-winter car checks to minimise this risk.
If you have a specific car concern when reading this, why not fast forward to the end of this post to see all the free car checks Protyre offers motorists to save you time and stress.
1) Is your breakdown cover adequate?
Some motorists buy emergency breakdown cover with their insurance then change insurer and forget to add this to the next policy. Choose your breakdown cover wisely when you buy yours. If you want to be able to phone for help when your car doesn’t start first thing in the morning, sitting outside your house, make sure you’ve bought Home Cover. And if you do a regular and long car journey (a friend of mine drives from Sussex to Gloucester every week) make sure you have a recovery scheme that’ll transport your car to your destination, not leave you stranded at an unknown garage en route.
2) Look after your car battery
A failing car battery is a potential inconvenience but it will usually give you a warning when it’s struggling. You can hear it groaning to generate power when you turn the engine over. It might be that the car battery has been sitting in the garage too long, discharging itself, when a lengthy and fast car drive could charge it up again. Like many car parts, a spot of TLC goes a long way, postponing the need to buy a new car battery before you have no other choice. Neglect car batteries at your peril prior to the winter – here are some car battery care tips
Did you know?
Protyre offer a range of free checks to keep your vehicle safe on the road, including free battery checks. Click the button below to book online, or alternatively, give your local Protyre garage a call to book over the phone.
Free Battery Check
3) Fuel your tank before it’s empty
Running out of fuel can make motorists vulnerable, depending on the circumstances. Some motorists seem to regard filling their fuel tank as a bit of a challenge. ‘I’m sure it’ll make it to xx before I need to stop and refuel’. I can’t see the point of taking this risk. If you drive regularly, why wait until your warning light comes on before topping your fuel up?
Little riles me more than hopping in to my car to find my husband has borrowed it and not spotted the low fuel light that’s now flashing at me. I have learned to fill my car up when it’s half full (or empty) so I’m less likely to have fuel (or marital) stress on my mind during a motorway journey for example.
4) Check Your Tyres
We all know we should check our car tyres for safety reasons but few of us know how to do this properly. When you are checking your car tyres you need to look at their condition, to make sure their tread is legal (a minimum of 1.6mm) and that their pressure is as recommended in the car’s handbook. You can keep an eye on your tyre condition by taking a regular walk around your car, concentrating on your tyres. Have you (or another driver?) scuffed a wheel, sufficient to cause tyre wall damage perhaps? This can happen when parallel parking in a tight space where you mount the pavement and may end up rubbing your wheel or tyre against a sharp kerb edge.
Look out for any one tyre looking a little flatter than the rest – possibly suggesting a puncture. Slow punctures are commonplace but as their name suggests they rarely happen overnight. If you can spot this damage early enough, a puncture repair is the cheapest solution compared to the cost of the new tyre you’ll undoubtedly need if you wait until the puncture is beyond repair. Similarly, your tyres will wear out sooner than they need to if they are over or under inflated.
Unsure about the condition of your tyres?
No problem, let our expert technicians ease your concerns. Protyre offer free tyre checks at all garages within our UK network. Click the button below to book online, or alternatively, give your local Protyre garage a call to book over the phone.
Free Tyre Check
It’s easy to check the tread of your tyres using a 20p coin. When you park your car, turn the driving wheel so your tyre tread can be seen. Insert the coin into the tyre tread grooves across the road facing surface. Looking at the tyre and coin sideways on, if you can see the outer rim of the 20p coin, your tyres probably need a second opinion or attention by a local tyre professional. Some motorists even ask their children to do this check for them.
5) Keep an eye on oil and coolant levels
If you don’t check oil levels when they are low or dirty you are likely to face an expensive garage bill to rectify the engine damage that may have been done.
Remember that a car service done by a garage will check your oil and coolant levels whereas a MOT will not.
Even if you drive fewer than 5000 miles a year I recommend a car service every year including an interim (replacement oil and filter) in between a full service. In this way your car engine parts should always be adequately lubricated and any metal shards produced can be washed out each year to avoid serious damage and future expense.
Need a new set of tyres? Book online at Protyre and save £££s!
Finally, if it isn’t feasible for you to do any of these checks for yourself – maybe you live on a busy road without private parking, then Protyre provides a wide range of free car checks
so you don’t have to.
To make sure Protyre professionals look at your car twice a year for you, you might choose to leave six months between your MOT and annual car service to give you this peace of mind. In which case I suggest you plan for these visits on your wall calendar or household diary as I do.
About Protyre’s free car checks
Protyre offers the following car checks for free which can be booked via their website. Click here
to find out what’s included in each free check. Where necessary, appointments can normally be arranged on the same day.
- Brake Check
- Car Battery Check
- Exhaust Check
- General Safety Check
- Steering Check
- Suspension Check
- TPMS (Tyre Pressure Management System) Check
- Tyre Alignment Check
- Tyre Safety Check
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