It is important to get regular services and maintenance for your vehicle from a qualified mechanic and at Auto Poole, we’re more than happy to help you look after your car, so all you need to do is drive it. But if you’d like to be a little more hands-on with your vehicle there is lots you can do yourself to maintain your car and potentially save yourself the hassle of breaking down. Below you’ll find more information on how to spot potential issues with your car and how to perform some routine maintenance yourself.
As your key point of contact with the road, it’s important that you ensure your tyres are not only the correct pressure, but that they have the right level of tread and that you change them at the right time.
Checking Your Tyre Pressure
Most manufacturers place a label in the car with tyre pressure information, typically you will find this label in the front door shuts or on the inside of the fuel cap cover. This information will always be in your vehicle handbook. If you don’t have your handbook then give Auto Poole a call, we can help you find this information. The weight you carry in your vehicle is also a deciding factor on your tyre pressures, for example if you’re loading the car for a family holiday you will need to increase the tyre pressures. Having the correct pressures in your tyres will effect the wearing of the rubber, your MPG, your stopping distances and general road holding, so don’t underestimate the importance of tyre pressures!
Checking Your Tyre Tread depth
The legal limit in the UK for tyre tread depth is 1.6 mm, in between the tyres treads you will find small notches called “wear bars” these are 2 mm high, so when your tyre gets down to these wear bars you know its time to replace them. If you are unsure about your tyres, please call Auto Poole or drop in for a free check.
Uneven Wear On Tyres
There are several reasons your tyres will wear unevenly, under inflated tyres will wear the outer edges of your tyres, over inflation will result in the centre of the tyre tread being worn first. Your vehicles tracking being out of adjustment will either wear the inner or outer edges of your tyres based on whether the tracking is “toe out” or “toe in”. If you notice this then book in to Auto Poole to have your tracking adjusted, at Auto Poole we have access to the latest laser alignment system to carry out your tracking. Your vehicles suspension alignment will have an impact on tyre wear, if a bush or ball joint is worn out, the wheel will not sit as the manufacturer intended.
If you find a cut in your tyre and you can see the cords, then the tyre is no longer serviceable, a small nick in the tyre which doesnt expose the cords or make a bulge in the tyre is ok. If you find a bulge in the tyre it means the tyre has been compromised structurally and means the tyre is no longer serviceable.
What Type Of Oil For Your Engine? Over the years oil technology has changed massively, early oils were mineral based, then semi synthetic and fully synthetic oils came in, and with it the opportunity to improve engines. Most commonly used oils in our vehicles these days are 10w40, 5w30 and 5w40, and there are grades of each of those too, and its important that you put the right oil in your engine. To find out which oil is best for your engine look in your vehicle handbook or give Auto Poole a call, we can help you find this information. Checking Your Oil Level And Topping Up. Most vehicles will have a dip stick on the engine, it will likely be orange, red or yellow to help you find it, and some modern vehicles have no dip stick, only a function on your dash board that will display the oil level if you go through the vehicles menu. Familiarise yourself with your engine bay and regularly check the levels, older more worn out engines will use some oil requiring you to top up, and some engines will use a little oil from new, so by checking your levels regularly you will learn about your vehicle and its consumption of oil, helping you spot problems early on if your engine starts using more oil than usual.
Firstly, don’t open your cooling system when the engine is hot! It is pressurised and may gush out splashing you in boiling coolant! Your engine shouldn’t use any coolant, if you notice a drop in the coolant level then your engine is either leaking it or burning it. The purpose of coolant is to carry heat away from the engine,where it passes through the radiator which cools it. The coolant is a mix of water and anti freeze, if you have insufficient anti freeze in the system it will freeze in winter and the expansion will burst your radiator and cause other problems. Anti freeze also contains detergents which stop corrosion in the cooling system. As a driver it is up to you to ensure the coolant is correct by having the vehicle properly serviced by a qualified mechanic. Call Auto Poole if you are unsure to the quality of your coolant, it is a quick simple check that can be done while you wait.