13 Oct The importance of good vehicle maintenance
We are constantly told, it is important to carry out regular maintenance if you want your vehicle to last, but why?
Proper maintenance can actually reduce the risk of serious problems plaguing your vehicle and reducing future problems from occurring, it can also improve the driving quality and economy of your vehicle.
Many owners neglect simple tasks and checks that could limit faults which lead to big bills at the garage or being stuck by the roadside (usually when it’s raining!).
Even with limited knowledge, most owners are able to perform simple tasks such as checking tyres or oil levels. Many vehicle handbooks include steps by step guides for these simple checks and the frequency these should be conducted.
What are the impacts if you don’t do these checks:
These checks are simple and will ensure that severe complications are avoided, certain mechanical failures can occur that lead to great expense, for example:
- Fixing or replacing the cylinder: this is one of the biggest signs of neglect, this occurs when the required mixture of fuel, air and sparks are missing, this leads to the cylinder overheating and failing.
- Camshaft: not changing your oil regularly and cleaning your valves will lead to dirt and grime building up, causing friction and heat being generated.
- Warning signs: not inspecting your vehicle means you could miss potentially dangerous problems or faults which could result in an incident.
What are the main checks that should be done?
There are a number of key checks you can make that will prevent damage:
- Regular Fluid checks: making sure your oil, transmission and coolant levels are correct will keep you vehicle running optimally ensuring smooth, economical running. If these are low they could lead to your engine over-heating.
- Regular Oil changes: this is the life blood of your engine, it keeps your vehicle running smoothly, rotating parts working properly. Over time, exhaust gasses will contaminate the oil reducing its efficiency. Changing it every 5,000-10,000 miles (or as directed in the vehicles handbook) will ensure the best performance and avoid problems.
- Tyre pressures: checking there is enough air in your tyres reduces excessive wear, which will result in them needing to be changed more regularly. Too much air can leave them prone to blowing out. Always refer to the vehicle’s handbook for the correct tyre pressures for the driving conditions. When you’re checking the pressure just cast an eye over their condition, do they still have enough tread to be legal. Look for the tiny ridges between the tread, these are a guide, when they are the same height as the tread it is time to get new rubber. Always keep a look out for any damage, or objects stuck in the tyres, this will require immediate attention.
- Engine Air filter: a dirty air filter will shorten the life of the engine, reduce the economy of the vehicle and even affect the horsepower, causing it to run roughly or even stall. Just blowing any loose dust of debris from around the air filter will let the engine breath. It is recommended that it is changed between 7,500 and 10,000 miles for standard driving, if you do like to go off-road or the road conditions are particularly dirty or dusty (like regular use of rural roads) it might be advisable to change it a little more often, if concerned just ask us we’ll take a look and advise.
Finally, it is important to get your vehicle looked at if it feels different or if it is “acting funny” get it to a garage and have it checked, it could be a simple fix or something that needs more attention, either way, it is better to be safe than sorry (or stuck in the rain by the roadside)
SLVS are always here to help and offer advice.