Unexpected mechanic bills are something we all want to avoid, which is why it is important to keep your vehicle well-maintained. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a new Ford car or you’ve been driving the same vehicle for years - keeping it in top condition means you will be less likely to break down and incur further repair costs.
The RAC found that just 19% of people check to see if their cars are ‘road ready’ before making a trip, 50% of drivers stated they sometimes check their cars before setting off, while a whopping 30% said they never perform any checks.
So, what maintenance checks should you be doing to ensure your car remains in the best possible condition? We’ve looked in some more detail below:
FORCES stands for Fuel, Oil, Rubber, Coolant, Electrics, Screenwash, and lays the foundations for your vehicle checks.
Be sure to check you have enough fuel for your journey (or if you have an electric vehicle, check you have enough charge). It may sound simple, but some 11 million Brits have admitted to running out of fuel on their travels, so make sure you’re not caught short.
If you drive a petrol car and are wondering about the difference between E5 and E10 fuel, we have put together a guide to answer your most pressing questions, which you can find here.
Not having enough oil in your vehicle can lead to irreparable damage to your engine, so it is important to check that your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on your dipstick and top up when necessary - be sure to refer to your vehicle’s handbook to ensure you use the right oil.
Tyres must be checked regularly for general wear and tear, tread depth and any bulges or splits. When it comes to tread depth, the minimum tread level is 1.6mm, although during winter it is recommended to have at least 3mm of tread to help with grip.
You should also check you have the correct air pressure in your tyres, as poorly inflated tyres can not only cause accidents but will also lead to poorer fuel economy.
Your coolant helps to regulate your engine’s temperature, ensuring it doesn’t freeze or overheat. Your coolant system is sealed and shouldn’t need to be topped up, but it never hurts to check. If you do notice that the level is low, it could be due to a leak somewhere in the system, so you would need to get this addressed by a professional.
There are plenty of electrics to check on your vehicle, from lights to your battery – and they must be checked regularly. When it comes to checking your lights, it’s easiest to check the lights with a second person who can walk around as you press the brakes, change from sidelights to headlights and turn the indicators on and off.
Having your battery checked regularly can help things continue to run smoothly, and if you are having the check done, you could ask the tester to check the charging system and the drain on your battery to give a better overview of your electrical health. If your car is due a service, you can book it with us here!
Having a quality screenwash is important all-year round – in winter, your screen can get covered in grit and salt – and a good screenwash to water ratio will prevent the screenwash from freezing in the colder months - while in the warmer months, you’re likely to be bombarded by bugs - so be sure to regularly check your levels and top up when necessary.
We don’t need to tell you how important it is to have brakes that function correctly, so keeping them maintained is vital. Check the brake fluid level and if it is low, top it up – once again, your vehicle handbook will give you the correct specs needed. If you feel unsure about doing this, check in with a professional who can handle it for you.
We recommend changing your brake fluid every two years, to maintain maximum efficiency and safety. Speak to us about booking a brake fluid change for your vehicle.
An air filter that is clogged or damaged can impact engine power as well as reduce fuel efficiency, which is why mechanics recommend changing it every year or after 12,000 miles – whichever comes first.
Try to keep things clean and tidy on the inside of your vehicle and in your boot – additional, unnecessary weight can contribute to poor fuel consumption. There is also the risk that discarded debris could roll around and block your pedals, so keep it clean!
As well as keeping it clean on the inside, you should do the same on the outside. You can check your bodywork for any damages that may hinder car performance, while it is important your headlights, brake lights and number plates remain clean so you can be seen on the roads. Windows are also important so that your vision is never compromised – having an unclean windscreen could see you fined for driving a car that is in a dangerous condition.
If you’re looking to make a change to your vehicle, we have a wide range of new and used cars for sale across all of our dealerships for you to choose from -why not take a look below?