This may sound silly but I don't really know any car owners, so I thought I'd ask. How do you know what checks you need to carry out, and how often? I know some people who say they don't and they just get it serviced every 6 months (one being the MOT), but I want to know how regularly checks should be carried out and how often you do it. I am hoping to be driving within the next year but don't have a clue on maintaining a vehicle as I've never had one and don't know anyone who does.
I'm also looking on a wiki and it says that cars should not consume brake fluid? Also how do you know what to top it up with? And how do you inflate your tyres? On a video I found it's this massive metal pump thing.
Haynes produce excellent books on vehicle maintenance. I haven't looked at this book, but it claims to be aimed at 'the car owner or driver who does not have wide-ranging technical knowledge but who would welcome concise instructions on what to do when a dashboard warning light comes on or a flat tyre has to be changed'.
Haynes Glovebox Guide: Your Car.
Emma, do you have a car? If you do it might be worth while hiring an ADI to go through your car with you.
I've done it for some of my own pupils, usually single females who don't have a car-owning beau. It's free for my long-term clients.
We open the bonnet (a technique in itself) and I point out dangerous parts of a hot engine to never touch (nearly everything) and what the non-mechanical owner can check for themselves.
We read the car handbook (normally a very stressful procedure for males, akin to asking for directions, we already know everything ).
We work out when the next service is due and whether it will be a complicated (very very expensive) one.
We look at all the switches, warning lights & gauges and discuss what they are about.
We often go for a short drive to check out certain features e.g. if cruise control is fitted.
I have a download
to help work out the meaning of the most commonly used dashboard icons, it is designed for Australia (which is where I am) and the section on demisting & airconditioning is for tropical areas in particular - but it might be useful.
Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
Thanks for the advice guys will defo buy that book
The checks you need to carry out regularly are:
Petrol (or diesel) - is there enough for your planned journey? (Every trip)
Oil - Is the level correct? (Daily)
Water (or engine coolant) - Is the level correct? (Daily)
Damage - Check for serious body damage (Daily - you'd be amazed how people will ding your car and not stick around!)
Electrics - Check running lights, indicators and brakelights (Daily)
Rubber - Check tyres for damage, i.e. deep cuts and bulges (Daily), pressure (weekly) and tread depth (monthly)
You - Are you fit to drive? (every trip)
.....and you've no doubt noticed that spells POWDERY
Retired RoSPA Approved Tutor
Retired NDAC & NDAS trainer