AS I always say, a motor vehicle – apart from a house – is one of the most important mobile assets for any family. Apart from the fact that it takes you places, it can easily be converted into cash and can easily get destroyed as well. The way you keep this asset determines how you benefit from it.
Keep it well and it will serve you well, handle it poorly and it will pay you back in your own currency! There are so many things that you should always keep in mind as you own and use the car.
Check your tyre pressure
Do this at least once a month as per the ratings inscribed on the inside of your driver-side door. Check your tyre pressures in the morning when the tyres are cold. Proper tyre pressure will save you money as the vehicle will consume fuel economically and extend the life of your tyres. Always make sure you carry a spare tyre. Its pressure must be checked, too!
Change the air cleaner filter
This must be done at least every six months. All vehicles burn fuel mixed with air. The air intake must be clean or else your vehicle will malfunction as this filter works as the lungs of your car. Replacing a dirty air filter can improve your fuel economy.
Replace your wiper blades
Wiper blades should be replaced every six months or when they begin to show signs of being worn out. Most of your driving decisions are based on visibility. So, if your windscreen is not clear, you could make wrong decisions or strain your sight. If you live in colder climates, use appropriate wiper blades that will keep the blades on the windshield when you need it most.
The check engine light
Watch out for the Check Engine Light on your dashboard. This is normally orange in colour and shaped like an engine. This can cause your vehicle to overheat, give less power and can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40 per cent. When that light is flashing, for your own safety and that of your car, park the vehicle immediately, turn off the engine and call a mechanic. Seriously.
Change your oil
Make sure you carry out an engine oil change after every 3,000-5,000 kilometres. Your engine works very hard and is the heart of your car, so be sure you use good quality oil with a known brand. The same applies to the oil filter. Also, check your oil levels at least once a week.
This is meant to keep your car engine cool during summer and warm during winter. It also has rust inhibitors to protect the inside of your engine. Have a mechanic check all fluid levels when your oil is changed.
Check your lights
Have you noticed your headlights aren’t as bright as they used to be? Headlight bulbs should be replaced every other year, and are low cost and easy to replace. As they dim over time, you can even lose your night vision. Don’t forget to check your tail lights so you can also be seen.
Keep an emergency safety kit in the boot of your car
The kit should include items such as jumper cables or battery jump starter, a torch with new batteries, tyre inflation product, first aid kit, flare and safety triangle, extra wiper washer fluid as well as basic tools (wheel spanners, spanners, screw drivers, pliers, wheel jack, etc.)
Extend the life of your car
Cars are your second most expensive investment. By following the owner’s manual, your car can be counted on to last 10 or more years and well beyond 200,000 kilometres. Routine maintenance can help your car achieve its potential. Change parts when they are due; do not wait for the car to first breakdown!