Buying and running a car is not cheap, but you can make things a whole lot more expensive by not properly looking after your car. It’s one of the major causes of breakdowns and things going mechanically wrong with your vehicle. If you want to be a good car owner, then there are a few things you really should keep on top of.
Tyres – It’s sometimes easy to forget that the only things keeping you in contact with the road are your tyres, and even then, it’s only a small part of them in contact at any one time. They are very, very important, and you should check to make sure they are the right pressure regularly. Small areas of damage can worsen over time, so never leave anything that doesn’t seem right – a slow puncture is not a good thing. The tread is also very important, as this is what grips the surface of the road – make sure that it is well above the legal limit and in generally good condition.
Coolant – This does exactly what it sounds, and it’s very important for the health of your engine. You really shouldn’t need to top it up in general use, so if you notice that the level has lowered recently, and then get the system checked out.
Brake pads – It only takes a second to have a look between the spokes of your wheels to see if the brake pads are looking too thin. Some cars have sensors to tell you when they’re low, and sometimes a piece of metal designed to scrape on the rotors will let you know. Unfortunately, your worn pads may be low enough by this point to have damaged your rotors, meaning they too may need replacing.
Oil – This is the lubricant that keeps all of the moving parts in your engine running properly. Every couple of weeks, check the dip stick to make sure your oil is at the right level. If it needs topping up, be sure to use the right type of oil for your engine. Excessive consumption of oil means a more pressing engine problem, but older cars will naturally use a small amount every few months and it’s nothing to worry about.
You can find a more comprehensive ownership guide here, which explains additional things to be aware of, such as how your driving style can also contribute to additional wear and tear on the vehicle.