Car Maintenance Tasks To Do At Home During Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has seen many of us spending more time cooped up at home than we would like. You can turn self-isolation into a positive by spending it looking after your car and ensuring it’s running at its best. Here are four DIY maintenance tasks that can easily be done at home.
The condition of a car’s tyres can not only affect fuel efficiency but also the safe running of your vehicle. As the tread wears on a tyre, its ability to disperse water on the road and maintain traction starts to lessen, to the point where a car can hydroplane (slide) when cornering, or be more susceptible to damage from potholes.
Most car tyres are fitted with wear indicators, which show when a tyre has worn down significantly and should be replaced. The tyres will also include information on the optimum level of inflation; if the tyres have too much or enough air in them, it can cause issues for safety and fuel efficiency.
Wiper blades are quite an easy component to check and replace. You will notice if the blades are not working well if they struggle to remove water from the windscreen, even in low amounts of rainfall. Wiper blades can come in many different sizes and styles, so it’s best to check your car manual, online or at a retail store as to which blades are best suited for your car.
Checking and topping up wiper fluid is very simple; for best results, add a few drops of dishwashing detergent to the water, to help keep the windscreen clean. But don’t add too much, or your windscreen will be covered in bubbles the next time you use the fluid.
Given its importance in helping you drive safely, the front windscreen needs to be kept clean, inside and out, and free of chips or scratches. You might be tempted to grab a bottle of household window cleaner, but you should think again: many of these products contain ammonia, which can actually cause damage to automotive glass, particularly if it has tinting.
The best way to clean windscreens and other glass surfaces in your car is to give them a good wipe with a clean cloth, and then, using another clean cloth, apply some rubbing alcohol to it, which will help remove grease and oil. The technical name for rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol, and while it may not be as cheap as household window cleaners, it is better and safer for your car.
Your car wants to operate “like a well-oiled machine,” so it’s vital that it has enough quality oil in order to do its job. Checking the level of engine oil is quite simple:
- make sure the car has cooled down if you’ve been driving it, and that it’s on level ground;
- open the bonnet, locate the oil dipstick near the engine, remove it, then wipe it clean with a cloth or rag;
- put the dipstick back in its hole, wait a few moments, then remove it again;
- you will see two marks on the dipstick; if the oil level is between the marks, it doesn’t need to be topped up; but if it’s below the bottom mark, it’s time for a top up.
Most car manuals will include information on the best grade of engine oil to use for your vehicle, so always check before buying and adding it to the engine.
Performing these simple maintenance tasks will help to ensure that when you’re back on the road on a more regular basis, your car will be safer and better to drive.
Pedders can also help you with our $28 brakes, steering and suspension check, or if you need to tow trailers, caravans or boats, a tow-load assessment will incorporate a brakes, steering and suspension check and a weight matrix so you know how much weight you can tow now and in the future.