Obtaining your driver’s license is a right of passage and it marks a significant milestone in many young people’s lives. However, getting on the road for the first time brings certain challenges. You have to practice the rules of the road daily for example and you also have to source and finalise the right insurance cover for an affordable price. Finally, you must handle the maintenance of your car.
When you’re a young driver the concept of car maintenance might be alien to you. There’s a lot to consider from tyres, to wipers and all that ‘under the bonnet stuff’. At coverinaclick.ie We’re here to calm your nerves and give you some advice.
Here’s 5 great car maintenance tips:
1.Read the owner’s manual.
You might already be yawning thinking about the prospect of tucking into this literature. However the owner’s manual is the best way to learn about your car. Every make of car is different and sometimes the components change between the years of production.
Your owner’s manual will firstly give you basic operating instructions. It will teach you exactly how your windshield wipers work, how to operate your automatic lights and what to do when you see that warning light come on.
Another vital tip you’re likely to find in your owner’s manual is your warranty information. It’s essential to know the facts surrounding your warranty cover. The manual will provide tips on what your warranty covers / doesn’t cover and for how long you can avail of it.
It’s easy to forget all the logistics of your car when you drive it out of the garage but by scanning your owner’s manual, you’ll learn all the basics about your vehicle.
2.Know the warning signs.
When you are driving your first car, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with your dashboard. Dashboard’s in newer cars are the hub of activity when it comes to internal problems. If there is a problem with your engine, you will see it on your dashboard. The same applies to your oil light when your oil needs a change.
Additionally, depending on the make and model of your car, many dashboards now have a ‘service light’ which alerts you to the fact that you need to bring your car into the garage for a service. This is a great innovation for anyone who’s a little bit more forgetful!
3.Know how to change you oil.
One of the most basic yet important maintenance items that all young drivers should know is how to change their oil. Oil should be changed every 3 months at least or every 3,000 miles. When the oil light comes on it’s important to act as soon as possible. Changing your oil ensures the longevity of your car engine because it lubricates the most critical parts thus protecting it from harm. Changing your oil on time also gets you better mileage for your petrol. This is because overall miles per litre are affected by a number of factors including environmental factors, driving habits and vehicle maintenance.
Without proper maintenance, dirt and grime can make its way into the engine causing friction which gnaws away at the engine components. Making sure your car has clean oil in it will reduce this and allow your car to get the best mileage it can from your refill.
When it comes to changing your oil here are the steps you need to be mindful of.
- Warm up your car.
Warm up the engine of your car for approximately 5 or 10 minutes. When you’re satisfied your car has heated up, shut it off. This will allow oil to move freely in and out of the engine.
- Drain the oil.
Once you are sure your car is off and you are safe to continue, remove the old oil. Place a bucket under the oil drain plug and begin loosening the bolt with a spanner. Once it has been loosened effectively, remove it. Take heed of any steam that might rise from the engine. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to drain the oil.
- Find the oil filter.
Your oil filter is a round shaped canister that will be screwed against your engine. It is approximately 5 inches deep.
- Change the filter.
Loosen the filter with your spanner and remove it. Proceed with replacing the filter. Ensure you smear the new filter’s rubber seal with oil before reattaching it. Use your hand to tighten it back in place.
- Refill you oil.
Use your car manual to investigate how much oil you’ll need to refill. Locate the oil cap under the bonnet and fill your oil to the required level. Then replace your oil cap. Ensure levels fall mid-range between high and low using your dipstick. When you turn on your car, watch out for your engine light – it should disappear after a minute.
- Always use the right oil!
Try to remember to always use high quality oil in your car as this could affect your engine. Read your owner’s manual to check what type of oil is correct, or ask a mechanic!
4.Be battery proactive.
Awareness of your car battery is vital as it can be an easy thing to forget. Always keep jump leads in your car and research how to use them. It’s important to bring your car for regular servicing because mechanic’s will check the battery level. Then they can also advise you on how to proceed if the level is sub-optimal.
5.Have your tyre’s pressure checked.
Knowing how to change a tyre is very important but the buck doesn’t stop there. It’s also very important to have the pressure in your tyres checked regularly. Over or under inflation in your tyres can result in uneven wear and tear which can impact tyres’ longevity, and tyres are expensive so you don’t want to suffer additional financial strain. Low tyre pressure can also increase fuel consumption.
In addition to getting your tyre pressure checked, check you tyre thread depth too! If the tread wears down it becomes less effective in gripping the road which increases your braking distance and increases the risk of skidding or aquaplaning. Place a €1 coin in the main grooves of the tyre. If the silver rim of the coin disappears, then your tyres have enough tread depth.
Make sure that you check in at least three difference places along the tyre, as one part may be more worn than another.
We understand that having a new car is exciting and your main concern is covering lots of ground. However, it is important to remember to keep up with car maintenance!
At coverinaclick.ie we want what’s best for young drivers. Life on the road an be daunting, but with the right cover you’ll have peace of mind! Why not get in touch?