Croft Autotech offer a range of different type of car services in Ellon there are various ways you can help maintain your own car between services we do. But to help you remember them all and increase the lifespan of your car we have put together this simple car service to do list.
We recommend that you spend around 10 to 20 minutes a week just giving your car a full check over. You do not need to take a three/four year training course in car mechanics to do these basic checks so there is nothing to stop you doing them between your normal car services.
However, while we service your car for you, there is always the possibility of a fault developing even after only a couple of days. Follow this suggested list of basic checks as set out below this page as your own car service to do list. It may save you money by either helping you spot a problem area thus avoiding a breakdown truck or an ambulance being needed.
There are only seven essential items that need to be checked and added on to your Car Service To Do List. It should take you no more than about 10-15 minutes to complete each week. Whats more you do not need a car ramp of garage to do it!
Check the level of coolant in your radiator cooling system. It may be worth keeping a container handy in the house or your garage/shed containing a water and antifreeze mix. It may to be needed very often but is good to have on hand. If you find you are having to top up on a regular basis or the amount you are adding increases it is likely you have a leak. You should come and see us. Ignoring a leaking hose could lead to your engine overheating and the cylinder head needing work. The hose is relatively inexpensive to replace whereas repairing the cylinder head could set you back over £400. A very good reason for adding a simple radiator check to your basic car service to do list.
Most cars have a simple dipstick (some newer and more expensive cars are relying on a electronic gauge) to help measure the level of oil. If you have the dipstick it is simple to check it. Wait until your car engine has cooled down and the oil has drained back into the sump. Remove the dipstick give it a clean with a cloth (or paper towel wipe) then dip the stick back into the sump and withdraw. You should now see the level of oil clearly indicated lying somewhere between the min and max level. Top up as required.
Not keeping your oil topped up could lead to increased wear reducing your engines lifespan. A rebuilt engine will cost you hundreds of pounds compared with a small bottle or tin of engine oil. Check with your car handbook for the most appropriate oil to use or pop in and speak to us for advice.
Whilst looking at the dipstick note the colour of the oil. It should be relatively clean but with a dark colour to it. If you are not sure then simply pop in and speak to us.
Whilst under the car bonnet it is a simple matter to look at the level of your brake fluid. It would normally be a clear plastic container so you should not need to remove the cap to check the level. If the level is low you should seek our advice as problems with the brakes can be dangerous to you and other road users. Definitely one for your basic car service to do list.
In Aberdeenshire we can experience all three seasons in one day. We might even get a glimpse of summer. We need to have our windscreen washers and wipers in good working order. Not just for the dark nights but to help other vehicles to see us in heavy rain and mist/fog conditions. If you have a separate container for your rear screen you should check that as well.
Do not top up with the water mix you are using for the radiator. Some antifreeze mixtures will strip all your paint off the car bodywork.
Whilst thinking about that clean any grit off your windscreen wipers. Scratches on the windscreen can lead to poorer vision whist driving but also is a reason for a MOT fail.
Tyre pressure check including the spare. Keep a note in your glove compartment of the correct pressures front and back (they often differ). The wrong pressure will not only create faster wear on your tyre but can decrease the amount of grip between your car and the road. This can cause slipping on corners and increased braking distances.
Tyre Tread should be checked at the same time as the pressures. the old advice about checking with the side of a coin is not as valuable as it once was as coin design is changing. Instead buy a tyre gauge and take a number of measurements across the width of the tyre. If it is getting worn consider replacing the tyre even if it is legal as it may already be effecting your safety.
Don’t forget the spare wheel whilst it may not be getting worn the tyre pressure could be falling. You don’t want to find a spare wheel you can’t use in the event of a puncture.
At least weekly check all your car lights are working effectively and clean. That includes headlights (both full and dipped beam), indicator lights (including any side repeaters) rear and brake lights as well as reversing and spot/fog lights. You may need help with the brake lights but at night you should be able to see them reflecting off a wall or another car.
Walk around the car looking for any damage (scrapes or dents). Takes only a couple of minutes but spotting damaged paint work early before the rust spreads can mean a saving in the long term.
As I said at the top of the page using this type of free basic car service to do list will not mean you can skip all the other car service jobs that need doing. This no cost to do list will effectively save you money in the long term.