Breaking down is one of the worst things that can happen and it’s always when you have somewhere to be! Making sure that you look after your car while it’s sitting at home is really important. Here are some top tips for keeping your car hunky-dory, so you don’t end up stuck on the side of a motorway waiting for someone to come and save you!
Things to check when looking after your car!
- Brakes – While it’s running, move your car forwards and backwards a few times to stop the breaks from seizing.
- Tyres – Check all of those tyres for their condition and pressure. Make sure you look for cuts and bulges, and keep them inflated if they need it.
- Battery – To stop your battery from going flat, start the engine and run it for 15 minutes once a week.
How to keep your battery healthy
Battery problems are the no.1 reason for breakdowns and happen most when vehicles are not being used.
Your car might have a built-in battery monitor, or you can buy a manual monitor so you can check your batteries health. There is also a product called a battery maintainer which is known as a trickle charger. If your car has stop/start installed, it automatically switches the engine off after a while which may interfere with charging the battery. If this happens, then it means the monitoring system has recognised the battery is fully charged.
Reasons for a flat battery
A common reason for a flat battery is accidentally leaving the car lights on after the engine has turned off. Make sure you don’t forget to switch them off as you don’t want to be stuck! Leaving the interior lights on or the radio can also keep the battery chugging.
Sometimes you can leave these on while you are cleaning the car. Once you have done this, drive the car a short distance and apply the brakes often to dry them off running the engine for 15 minutes.
Try to keep a pair of jump leads in the car, just in case you do end up stuck somewhere so you can charge your battery from another vehicle.
Most batteries have a guarantee of 3-5 years, so if yours is getting a bit old, it’s often better to replace it with a new one before it lets you down!
Make sure to check the condition of your tyres as well as other problems that might need a closer look! Try to check them once a fortnight, keeping an eye out for uneven wear, check your tread, and look for cuts.
Also, check your tyre pressure to make sure you don’t put yourself at risk. Your correct pressure will be in your vehicle handbook so it is good to check this.
Things to do to keep your tyres healthy!
- Make sure to increase your tyre pressure if you are carrying a heavy load. (This can be found in your handbook)
- Drive around corners and kerbs. The sides of the tyres are easy to damage and grazing the curb weakens them.
- Replace tyres when the tread gets low.
- Check your alignment to make sure your car is driving in a straight line. This can wear through your tyres really quickly and affect handling.
Electric vehicles need TLC!
With the rise of electric cars, many of you may wonder how to care for them. Their main system is all the same as your regular car, the difference is the high voltage system. Thankfully your car will likely automatically maintain the 12-volt battery when they are plugged in, and your vehicle handbook will tell you this.