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Essential Car Maintenance for Summer Driving

With summer upon us, it’s a perfect time to look at some basics of car care. Of course, you can take your car to a service centre or mechanic, but you also have the option to do some things at home.

The logical starting points are the tyres and the engine. Let’s take a look at these two areas.


Tyre Maintenance

A crucial point is tyre pressure. Why? Having an under or overinflated tyre causes excessive tread wear, can cause sidewall damage, limits the size of contact on the road, and can affect the performance of your braking system.

The sidewall of the tyre will have the maximum pressure recommended for the tyres on your car.

The tyres themselves will be a certain size in diameter, width, and sidewall height. Again, you will also find this information on the sidewall. This is important as certain sized tyres should be fitted to your car and therefore, the pressure for them will vary.

Somewhere inside your car should be a placard with the right tyre pressures for your particular tyres and car.


Engine Maintenance

The most common thing to take care of as far as engine maintenance is changing the oil.  Fresh oil lessens interior engine wear nd will help in fuel consumption.

Keep in mind, however, safety is paramount, so pick up some good thick gloves and eye protection if you’re doing this at home.

Start with a good drive to warm up the current oil, which will make it easier to drain. Then jack up the car, loosen the sump plug, and slide in an appropriate holder. Carefully remove the plug. Remember the oil will be hot.

Using an oil filter remover, swap the old filter for a new one once the oil has finished draining.

Wait for the engine to cool and after reinserting the sump plug, pour fresh oil into the top of the engine. Refer to the car manual for information on the appropriate engine oil.


Other Maintenance Tasks

Another task you may wish to tackle is changing the spark plugs. Providing you set the gap at the end of the plug correctly, these will aid fuel efficiency by burning the fuel more effectively, reducing emissions, and improving driveability. Check what types of spark plugs your car needs before making any changes.

Next up, your air-conditioning system may need a regas. This is one task you should take to a licensed service centre where they can check for leaks from potentially corroded connections or cracked pipes.

Then there’s windscreen wipers. Being rubber, they suffer from UV exposure, and if not cleaned regularly, can trap and scratch windscreens from embedded particles. While you’re at it, check the level of wiper fluid, and if it needs topping up, head to your local auto retailer.

Last but not least, the radiator is important. Radiator fluid may fail to be efficient over time. Check your car manual to see how much, and what type of radiator fluid your car needs. Depending on the car you have, there will be a drain plug at the base of the radiator. Only drain the radiator when it is completely cold. Once drained, flush the system with water and follow the directions in regards to refilling.