If your family travels a lot by car (or even a little), you need to keep on top of car servicing and maintenance. Put I can remember feeling a little overwhelmed about maintaining my first car, neither of my parents drove and I didn’t really have anyone else to ask.
I did my own research, and managed together a plan of sorts, to help me keep on top of ensuring our car was safe and roadworthy. Now that I’m a mother of two, I think it’s even more important to be up-to-date with your car servicing and maintenance, so I’ve decided to share my tips with you.
What You Need to Know About Car Servicing and Maintenance for Your Family Car
The first port of call is your tyres. They can have too little air in, or too much and you need to check the tread too. Your car manual will tell you what the best tyre pressure is for your make and model of car. I’m not so good at judging the tread on my own, so I always pop into my local garage if I have any questions. Usually, if your tyres are nearing the legal limit for tread, it’ll be picked up in an MOT or service, so there shouldn’t be any opportunity for you to be driving around with bald tyres.
Just because servicing your car isn’t an annual legal requirement, it doesn’t mean you can skip it altogether. There are two types of service you can have; an interim service, or a full service.
This is usually done every 6000 miles or every 6 months (whichever comes first). An interim service usually checks things like fluid levels, seatbelts, battery, and how effective the handbrake is (as well as many other basic checks including tyres). This is less in-depth than a full service, but still puts your car through some important thorough safety checks.
A full service includes all the basic checks of an interim service and goes more in-dept by checking for damage and faults in other areas of the car components, as well as checking door hinges and wheel condition. This is usually done every 12,000 miles or every 12 months and is a very rigorous test.
This is the most important test to put your car through, as it’s a yearly legal requirement and it ensures your car meets the minimum safety requirements to be on the road. Your MOT should be carried out by an authorised test centre, to ensure it is carried out properly. If you’re in or near Northampton, you can get a VOSA approved MOT from Calmac MOT Northampton Autocentre, which will ensure your vehicle is roadworthy.
If your car fails its MOT first time, you’ll be told what needs to be done to get the car to pass. When you get your MOT certificate, you’ll be given a list of ‘advisories’ which is a maintenance list to let you know what will need to be repaired or replaced soon. When I get my MOT done, I usually get a quote for fixing everything on the advisory list, then return in a couple of months when I’ve saved the money for repairs. I like to keep on top of my car maintenance and hate to think of something on my car not being as good as it could be.
Car Maintenance You Can Do Yourself
I take care of a small amount of car maintenance myself. For example, I have my own tyre pump and check the air pressure every couple of months or before long car journeys. It plugs into my cigarette lighter, so I can pump up my tyres in my own drive.
I also do regular checks on my screenwash. I tend to get through screenwash quite quickly so I top it up monthly. For checking the oil, I’m pretty lucky because my car dashboard tells me how much I have and when I need to top it up, which takes away a lot of the worry.
I also check my headlights if I’m driving at night. This is something most people seem to forget to check, but I once got pulled over because a light was out and I didn’t know, so that really encouraged me to check.
Have you got any car maintenance tips for people like me (who don’t know much about cars)? If so, I’d love to read them in the comments!