Essential Checks for Every Car Owner

The AA recommends that you should perform regular checks on your car to make sure it’s in top condition and safe to take on the road. Performing checks every few weeks can help you spot a fault before it develops into a major problem.

Here are three essential things that every car owner should keep on top of when doing regular car checks:

1. Check Your Oil Levels

Check the oil levels of your car regularly - don’t wait for the oil pressure warning light to come on before checking. By then, the damage to the engine could already be done. First, park it on a level service with the handbrake on, before opening the hood.

Remember to leave your car to cool for at least an hour before checking the oil.

Locate the oil dipstick. Pull the dipstick out using the loop on the top and wipe it clean.

Insert the dipstick back into its opening as far as it will go. Pull it all the way out again and check the markings to check the oil level is acceptable.

If the level is too low, you shouldn’t drive the car until more oil has been added. Any mechanic will be able to recommend what oil you should buy for your car and how to fill it up.

2. Check Coolant Levels

An overheated car is likely to breakdown, especially in the summer, so it pays to check your coolant (also known as antifreeze) levels every few weeks.

Before you start your check, park your car on a level service with the handbrake on, before opening the hood. You can check the coolant level without opening the cap – there’s a “Full” line on the side of the coolant reservoir.

If it isn’t full, open the bottle and add a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water. You can buy some coolants pre-mixed with water so make sure you check the bottle before diluting it.

If the level always seems low, you may have a leak on your hands and you should take your car to a mechanic for closer inspection.

3. Check the Lights Are Working

Your exterior lights should be cleaned regularly and, when doing so, you can check the lights for blown bulbs or cracks in the lenses.

If your headlights need to be changed, you can replace the bulb yourself once you have determined the correct type and wattage needed from the car manual. All you need is a new bulb and a screwdriver:

Open the hood of your car. Remove the power connector from the back of the headlight and the dust cover.

Press down on the clip that holds the light bulb in place to release it.

Carefully grasp the housing of the bulb to remove it – don’t pull it by the glass or too roughly. Once removed, check that the new bulb matches the old one.

Line up the new bulb housing and insert it carefully, making sure it’s secure.

Slide the bulb back in place, and replace the clip, dust cover and power connector.

Turn on your headlights to make sure they’re working again.

So, there you go – three essential checks that every car owner should know. Perform these checks every few weeks so you can keep your car running smoothly and easily and spot any faults before they become an expensive problem.