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Keeping your wheels turning

What are some of the easier maintenance tasks that you can do on your car? It’s often very satisfying being able to carry these tasks out yourself knowing that you’re keeping your car in top shape, as well as saving yourself a few dollars in the process.  If any car parts need to be replaced in your routine maintenance, you can easily pick these bits up from your local Supercheap Auto outlet, your car’s own Service Centre or the local garage.

Checking your tyre pressures is simple.  You can pull into most fuel stations and find an air compressor that measures the tyre pressure for you.  Top up the air inside the tyre if the pressure happens to be too low.

Your car’s air cleaner filter is another simple check.  The filter cleans the air which enters the engine.  Carburettor engines usually have the air cleaner installed on top of the carburettor.  Engines with electronic fuel injection usually have square or rectangular filters, and the filter is usually mounted on the body of the car, adjacent to the engine.  Taking the air filter out is very easy.  Usually they need replacing every 30,000 km or sooner if the roads you travel are dusty.  Making sure that the air entering your engine is clean will ensure that the life of your engine is maximised.

A car battery is simple enough to remove and replace when dead.  With routine maintenance of the battery, checking the electrolyte level in the battery cells is a must.  If the levels are low, you can top them up with distilled or deionised water.  Also check that the battery terminals are clean.  A wire brush or sand paper can be used for cleaning the terminals.  Any corrosion is caused by the acid in the electrolyte, and this can be removed with a solution of hot water and baking soda.  The cable terminals can be cleaned by dropping them into a cup of the hot water and baking soda mixture.  Once you’ve cleaned the battery all up, coat the fitted terminals with petroleum jelly or grease to prevent further corrosion.

Keeping the body of your car looking great is easy enough.  Regular cleaning of both the exterior and the interior will definitely maintain the appearance and the condition of your vehicle.  Chipped paint can be touched up with a paint pen/brush.  Turpentine or kerosene will remove any tar splodges on wheel rims or paintwork.  Don’t forget after washing the exterior; make sure you give it a good polish.  Remember to keep the drain holes in the doors clean and clear, as any water trapped inside the door panels will cause rust.

Checking your water level inside your radiator is so simple, but often this important check is neglected.  There is no need to fry your engine.  Regular checks will detect any coolant loss which can quickly be rectified.  While on the subject of fluid levels, do check brake fluid, gearbox and engine oil – and top up if necessary.  These are so simple to do, and the fluids are readily available from a garage.

You can check your windscreen wipers.  These are easy to remove and replace if the old wipers are smearing rather than shifting the water off the windscreen when it rains.

Light bulbs are also easy to purchase and replace if you find that a light isn’t working.

If you like cars, you’ll probably enjoy checking over the car.  If cars don’t press your button that much but you can see yourself doing odd jobs to keep it in good shape, you’ll likely find that you’ll gain an appreciation and better understanding of how your car works as you go about these simple routine maintenance checks.