Why should I check my car if it is not due for service?
As car service intervals lengthen and visits to the dealership for car servicing become infrequent, cars are more and more at risk of enduring a costly breakdown in between services.
It might be nothing more than a blown tyre or it could be a seized engine. While having your vehicle maintenance handled byt a professional is really important, visually inspecting your car between services is also vital.Vehicle owners, even those without any mechanical aptitude or experience, can still ensure that the car is safe and reliable between services by regularly checking those items that a service department would also inspect.How often should you assess the car’s condition? It varies, but once a month is probably enough for the easy jobs. Your brakes should be fine for a six-monthly check between services.
It’s not always the case, but as often as not an aftermarket workshop can provide servicing that’s more affordable than the dealer can provide, while maintaining your car in accordance with the logbook, without voiding the warranty.Retail chains like MyCar (formerly K-Mart Tyre and Auto), Ultratune, Midas and Goodyear Autocare are located conveniently throughout major popular areas – and quite a few rural hubs as well.
These companies (and the smaller players too) are committed to providing affordable and comprehensive service for your car, whether it’s fresh from the factory or due for an old-age pension.
Their staff are kept up to date on the latest technology in the cars they’re servicing, so it’s not as if they’re monkeys who know little more than how to monitor tyre pressure, change an air filter or check the oil level.In addition to the big names, an independent garage with a good reputation can provide competent and affordable car maintenance and repairs.
A lot of these independent workshops rely on strong word of mouth in the local area and repeat business to make their money.They’re usually equipped to handle large tasks, such as a complete engine swap, for example.Reasons vary as to why people won’t lift the bonnet of a car to take a peek underneath.
It could be fear of the unknown, or voluntary inertia, or time constraints.But some fearless types will accept the challenge. A good place to start – for beginners – is confining yourself to visual inspection and checks.
There’s little to no likelihood you might damage the car unintentionally if all you’re doing is checking what the workshop should be doing in between each service.
In a future story we’ll reveal the tell-tale signs of a vehicle in need of attention before the next service.When your car’s months away from the next service:
• Check tyre pressures when filling up at the local service station,
• Check all lights operate correctly – that’s headlights, brake lights, indicators, et cetera,
• Check fluids – engine oil, transmission, coolant, brake, steering and clutch fluid,
• Check brake pads and shoes,
• Check windscreen wipers and refill washer bottle,
• Check underneath for any leak,
• Walk around the car looking for body damage – corrosion, paint, loose trim, et cetera
As the owner becomes familiar with some of the car’s inner workings, he or she might feel encouraged to undertake some basic maintenance tasks. This is not recommended unless the owner is a qualified mechanic, although many owners will have the fundamental knowledge and handyman skills to tackle some technical tasks.