Basic Car Maintenance: When to DIY

Modern day cars are increasingly becoming “computers on wheels” and the art of the DIY repair is being lost. More and more people are relying on garages for things that used to be simple and cheap to do yourself. As cars become more complex, so too do the repair techniques of said cars. However, there are still a variety of things that even the least mechanically-inclined amongst us can do ourselves:

Checking Oil

– A shocking number of drivers don’t have a clue how to check their oil level. The oil warning light appearing on their dashboard instils a sense of panic that in some cases can lead them to call their breakdown services!

– Check your vehicle’s manual and identify where the dipstick is located. Pull the dipstick out of the pipe, wipe it clean, and then pop it back into the pipe for a second. When you pull the dipstick out again you’ll be able to see the current oil level; if it’s below the line then you need to fill the oil well.

– Refer back to your manual to find out where the oil well is located; please note you should not fill your oil through the hole that the dipstick goes in, that will get messy!
– Once you’ve filled the oil and replaced all the caps etc, turn your engine on again. If the warning light has gone you can relax! If the warning light remains then it may be time to get your vehicle looked at by a professional.

Measuring Tyre Pressure

– Having the correct tyre pressure could help to increase the life span of your car’s tyres, increase your car’s safety and handling, and can help to reduce fuel consumption!

– First of all refer to your vehicle’s handbook to find out what pressure your tyres should actually be. The front and rear tyres are likely to differ, and the load that you are carrying can determine what the pressure should be also.

– You can test your tyre pressure with a pressure gauge, which you can purchase yourself or use the facilities provided at most petrol filling stations. The advantage of checking your tyre pressure at a petrol station is that they will also have an air machine you can use to increase the pressure if you need to.

– Take off the dust cap on the valve, attach the pressure gauge and take note of the reading. If your tyre is overinflated you can let some air escape through the valve; if it needs inflating then use the air machine to pump the tyre up to the desired pressure. Make sure to re-attach the dust valve once you’re done, and away you go!

Of course there are several other things that you can do yourself, such as changing the wiper blades and changing a tyre, but the two tips above are a good place to start if you’re new to DIY car maintenance!

When looking for driving lessons in Exeter, Cullompton and Honiton make sure that your instructor covers some basic car maintenance in your lessons. Choose Philip Chappell’s Driving Tuition and you can be assured of comprehensive driving lessons that teach you everything you need to know to be a great driver and a responsible car owner!