Beyond the Sale – Essential Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Used Car Running Smoothly

An unreliable car is a stress that we don’t need; a breakdown will never come at a convenient time! Whilst we are somewhat at the mercy of our cars, which can malfunction at what feels like random sometimes, there are some ways of making it less likely, by taking the time to perform checks and habits that keep your used car running smoothly. 

Essential Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Used Car Running Smoothly

Complete regular maintenance checks 

While many parts of your car should be kept to the professionals, there are some DIY aspects of maintenance that you, as its driver, are responsible for checking. These are areas of your car that can be worn or depleted by use, meaning that they may not make it until your annual MOT and service before becoming dangerous or illegal. These checks include:

Tyres

Check both your tyre’s tread depth, and their pressures here. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, and the pressure level that your tyres should be kept at will be found in your handbook, or on a sticker within your car. Also keep an eye out for tyre bulges, splits, and uneven wear too.

Oil levels 

Not having enough oil can cause some catastrophic engine problems, so you should use your car’s dipstick, located under the bonnet, to ensure that the oil level is between minimum and maximum. You can top your car’s oil up yourself if it’s low, or head to a garage for it to be done for you. 

Lights

All the bulbs in your car need to be working, so checking bulb function regularly is important. To do this, you may need to enlist the help of someone else so that one person can operate each light from inside the car, while the other looks to see if the corresponding light works. This includes front and rear indicators, brake and reversing lights, headlights (side, dipped and main beam), and fog lights. 

Coolant 

To prevent your car from overheating, you should check your car’s coolant as part of your routine. Top-ups shouldn’t be all that frequent, as it’s a sealed system under the bonnet, but it’s always worth checking, particularly if you’ve got a long drive coming up. Head to a repair centre if you find that your car’s coolant is low. 

Screenwash 

Our windscreens can bear the brunt of regular driving, with bugs, bird droppings, pollen, and general road dirt and dust all building up to make things murky. Good visibility is required at all times, for obvious reasons, which is why you need an adequate amount of windscreen wash to get rid of the grub; regularly checking and topping up as needed will help keep things clear.

Stick to your car’s servicing schedule 

Your car will come with a servicing schedule stipulated by the manufacturer, which outlines what maintenance needs to be done and when (either by mileage or age, whichever intervals are reached first) in order to keep the car operating as it should. Failing to keep up with these services can leave your car vulnerable to a breakdown, and your bank balance vulnerable to an inefficient vehicle. 

Drive carefully 

Bad driving habits, such as braking harshly, overloading your car, and even driving with one hand resting on the gear stick can all have consequences that will see your car let you down, affecting its smooth running and costing you time and money in the process. Adopting good driving habits and being mindful of how the way you operate your vehicle can have an impact on its components can go a long way to keeping your car running as it should. 

Prepare for the unexpected 

Unforeseen faults can and do happen on cars far more often than any of us would like, so being prepared for these can help you react quickly, and get your car up and running again in no time. This is where car warranty for used cars can come in handy, by covering some or all of the repair costs in the event of an unexpected fault, ensuring that paying for the repair doesn’t stop you from getting back out and about in your used car. 

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