Basic Car Maintenance

Although it is recommended that you have a trained mechanic service your car every 6,000 miles, there are certain things you can do to ensure your car is in good health – saving you money in the long run.

Car Maintenance Checklist

In order to maintain car health, we recommend regularly checking the below:

1. Windscreen wash and wipers

As the windscreen is the principal method of seeing the road in a car, it is imperative that visibility is not impaired.

Your car should highlight to you when our windscreen wash needs to be replaced - you will need a bottle of wash to do this. Begin by popping the bonnet and locate the screen wash bottle – this is usually blue with a windscreen symbol on the top. Open this cap and fill the bottle until you reach the maximum line which should be visible near the top.

If you’ve noticed that using the wipers only moves the dirt around rather than expelling it, it might be time to clean your window wipers. Start by cleaning your windscreen with hot, soapy water, a hose or a jet washer. Then lift the wipers and wipe them down with your hot soapy water and a cloth. Remember to be delicate – the rubber can be fragile and be removed easily.

Find out more about windscreen wipers and how to tell when they need replacing.

2. Battery check

A faulty battery can be a real inconvenience, especially if it stops working altogether when you’re far from home. The trick with the battery is keeping on top of battery care. We recommend following the below steps to keep your car battery is in peak condition:

  • Keep the car battery clean and dry at all times
  • Never allow the car battery to discharge completely
  • Ensure the car battery is firmly secured in its mounting and that all connections are fully tightened
  • Apply battery grease to terminals to keep them free from corrosion

If you have noticed an issue with your battery such as slow turn over, at F1 Autocentres offer a free battery check – you’ll only pay if work needs done!

3. Engine oil

It is of high importance that your engine oil is regularly maintained as oil protects, lubricates, cools and cleans your engine. Servicing your car will ensure that the oil is properly checked by a specialist and replaced with fresh oil if needed. However, between servicing, you should regularly check your engine oil to ensure it is maintained at a level in order to help keep your engine running as smoothly as possible.

When and how should I check my oil?

Before checking, the engine should be warm, but allowed to stand for a couple of minutes to give the oil level a chance to settle. Using the dipstick housed in the engine block; firstly remove it and wipe the end clean, then reinsert it into its tube and push it down all the way. Pull the dipstick back out and this time note where the oil is on the end of the stick in accordance with the minimum / maximum level markings. Top up if necessary.

Checking your oil regularly could save you a fortune in the long run.

4. Horn

Although frequently used to express frustration on the roads, a horn has a safety purpose . It can be used to warn or alert other road users that you are on the road. Every so often, ensure that your horn is still working! If you do find that its broken or faulty, do not hesitate to contact your local F1 Autocentre for assistance.

5. Exhaust

Having a healthy exhaust offers a number of benefits such as increased fuel efficiency and converting harmful exhaust fumes into non-harmful ones. It is easy to spot when your exhaust isn’t functioning as it should such as:

  • A loud roar
  • A persistent rattle
  • A tinkling sound
  • A chugging noise
  • A hissing sound

At Formula 1 Autocentres, we offer a free car exhaust check. If you’ve noticed any of the above noises coming from your exhaust tell-tale signs of exhaust damage, visit us in your local autocentre today!

6. Tyres

Poor tyre maintenance can lead to quick wearing tyres. Tyres can be expensive, so it is vital for your purse strings that you look after your tyres. We recommend the following to keep your tyres in top condition:

  • Check tyre pressure regularly
  • Check for tyre wear
  • Reduce heavy loads
  • Check wheel alignment

Read more with our 5 tips for keeping tyres in good condition.

7. Brakes

If there is one part of your vehicle you want to keep in peak condition, it’s the brakes – if these fail, it can have catastrophic consequences. Keep on top of your brake maintenance by inspecting your brake pads and fluid every 12,000 miles. If your pad lining is less that 1/8 inch or the brake fluid is dirty, it’s time to book your car in or replace them yourself.

If you notice any noises or failings in your braking system, visit your local F1 Autocentres branch as soon as possible for a free brake check. We have a range of brake repair capabilities.

8. Lights and indicators

To keep both you and other road users safe in the dark and the fog, it is important that all your lights are functioning as they should. We recommend asking a friend or family member to stand outside your car while you try you indicators, fog lights, headlights and normal lights. If anything appears amiss, take your car to the closest garage. Ensure that it is safe for you to drive in conditions – for example if your headlights are broken, do not drive in the dark, wait until the daylight to get the issue fixed.

9. Mirrors

It’s second nature for drivers to check their mirror position before they pull off but how often do you check for cracks and smudges? It is important you ensure full visibility to reduce the chance of any further damage etc so make sure you are regularly cleaning all your mirrors. If you notice a crack in the mirror, bring your car to your closest F1 Autocentre – we’ll be able to replace it for you!

Find your nearest car servicing centre and book your next car service online with our easy online booking facility or get in touch with one of our specialist team for advice and current special offers or book online.


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