What are the best ways to keep your vehicle in good condition?
Everyone wants to keep their vehicles as reliable and safe to use as possible. Getting stranded at the roadside is not high on anyone's list of priorities - but it's a serious risk. Vehicles are complex machines, so there's always a chance for something to go wrong completely out of the blue. Many drivers, however, unknowingly increase their risks of breaking down.
There are some very simple ways of ensuring your vehicle is as reliable as possible for you to drive.
Keep it regularly serviced
Servicing is an essential part of a vehicle's life. Basic home maintenance can be the key to keeping your vehicle's engine working as reliably as possible. Internal combustion engines have been used in passenger vehicles for over a hundred years - they have constantly been in a process of refinement and improvement, which means they are now very reliable.
An engine is only as good as the maintenance it receives, however. Modern engines are still complex things that have a lot of moving parts, so it's essential to keep them working properly. Manufacturers have worked hard to keep engines as simple, cheap, and effective to service as possible - all you need to do is make a few small investments.
You have two options. You can get your car serviced at a garage, or you can do it yourself. If you are not confident servicing your vehicle yourself, there's nothing wrong with taking it to a garage. Although this will cost you money, it will be a good investment if it means you don't have to deal with larger repairs and damage.
How can you service your car at home?
If you decide you want to service your car yourself, there are a few things you're going to need. The first is some basic tools - ideally two jacks, a set of axle stands, and a basic set of sockets, screwdrivers, and spanners.
First is to know what a service entails. A basic service involves draining the engine oil and replacing it with fresh oil, and then removing the filters and replacing them too. It's worth googling your vehicle's service requirements, as every vehicle has different locations for the oil sump plug and filters. So all you need to do is locate your vehicle's serviceable parts, purchase replacements and refit them. This can be daunting at first, but if you do some research beforehand and make sure you're familiar with everything you need to do before you get started, you can get a basic service done at home in no time. Be sure you use the right specification oil and filters, and be willing to invest in the best quality that you can find - it's truly worth it.
Regular fresh oil is one of the secrets of long engine life, and regular servicing is something that many owners, unfortunately, forget - they then wonder why their vehicle develops issues with reliability and eventually breaks down.
Check your tyres regularly
So a lack of servicing is one common reason why people end up on the side of the road, the other is tyres. Tyre blowouts and other issues are often entirely preventable simply by regularly checking your tyres. It's a simple check that only takes a few minutes, yet if you ask most motorists when they last did it, they likely couldn't tell you with any certainty.
Tread depth is important - invest in an accurate depth gauge, they cost very little. The legal limit is 1.6mm, but as soon as you're under 2.0mm, you should start thinking about replacement. You also want to look at the way your tyres are wearing. Irregular wear patterns could be a signal that you have an issue with your suspension or wheel alignment, which can compromise your handling as well as make your tyres wear prematurely.
Damage is a key consideration when it comes to safe tyres. You want to check for any bulges or tears in the rubber. If you see them, it's essential that you get them checked by a professional tyre fitter as soon as possible.
Investing in tyre insurance from Direct Gap can help you make the cost of getting your tyres replaced more affordable. Scratch and dent insurance can also help you to keep them looking their best. However you choose to do it, do not drive on tyres if you're not happy with their condition.
Following these simple steps alone will help you keep your car reliable and dependable long term.