There’s an old saying that is: ‘look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves’. Looking after your car is no different – and regularly servicing your car saves a whole host of problems. The recommendation is to have it serviced roughly every six months (or twice a year). At worst, even once a year should save you money in the long run. Brake disc pads and air filters are two items on a car that usually wear out fast. You can think about replacing your own brake discs on this website if that is an even cheaper option.
One of the reasons you need to think about replacing disc pads is that when you apply brakes to your car it doesn’t automatically stop of its own accord. It relies instead upon brake discs – little round discs that fit onto the wheel. The brake discs (or rotors) work in tandem with the brake pads to slow the car down. The brake discs over time start to wear down, and in wet conditions stopping the car takes longer. Therefore, regularly checking the brake discs is advisable. If you think they are wearing out you may also hear a screeching noise which is the wheel bearings that will need replacing too. This can cost up to £200 a time per wheel, so best to nip it in the bud before it gets too bad.
Air filters are another area on the car to watch out for. Vehicle manuals suggest the air filter should be changed at 45,000 miles of driving on some cars whereas on others they advise every 30,000 miles. In ‘severe’ driving conditions, heavy traffic, hot weather and dusty roads – some manuals may state to get it changed after only 15,000 miles. When the average person drives around 10,000 miles a year, we’re looking at every 18 months in this instance. However, some people drive an awful lot more than 10,000 miles a year and this means even more regular checks. Drivers in big cities might need to replace the air filter more regularly, for example, due to the thick smog that builds up. It is possible to tell yourself when the filter needs replacing. You may find black areas on the part that outside air comes into the filter. The filter is usually fair accessible, and your motor manual can tell you where it is located.
If you are unable to check by looking at the filter, but it has been more than three years or 30,000 miles you likely need a new one. You can again save money by doing it yourself. If every time your car is MOT-ed or serviced the garage suggests changing it, you should be wary as the expectation is that you can go more than a year, possibly more than two years. If your air filter is clogged up acceleration can be affected by between 6-11 per cent. Acceleration is harder to measure than fuel economy, so you may notice a gradual performance loss.
So, regular cleaning and replacing of your car and car parts is another way to keep your car at best performance. For some good cleaning tips, the Auto Express site is a great resource. There are some obvious ideas such not cleaning your car in direct sunlight, using proper car cleaning cloths (such as chamois leather) and to use a clay bar. One of the suggestions for the clay bar is that if you if you run your hand along the bodywork, you’ll feel bumpy parts where carbon deposits and other dirt have attached themselves to the paintwork. The clay bar is making waves in the automotive world as a fast contender for a better clean.
So what’s included in a car service? A regular high street automotive service might go something like this: checking instruments, gauges, warning lights; vehicle interior; horn and wipers; interior lights; clutch operation; seat belts and service lights; air-con; engine diagnostic lights; vehicle exterior – lights and lamps, fuel cap, doors, boot and mirrors; pre-alignment check – steering suspension, shock absorbers and springs; tread, pressure and alignment of tyres. Also – battery, electrics, coolant and break fluid, bonnet catch and power steering fluid and brake pipes/hoses, radiator, engine oil and windscreen washer, fuel filter and air filter. This list is not exhaustive by a long shot. The proposal is that most of these items are checked after 6,000 miles or six months. And all of them after 12 months or 12,000 miles.
If you want to keep your car’s performance at its very best, regular servicing is the greatest way you can look after it. If you can do the servicing yourself to save those pennies and pounds, so much the better. More people are opting to try themselves now with the rising costs of car maintenance.