For many of us currently in ‘lockdown’ due to coronavirus, being able to get out to our local car servicing centre just isn’t possible. With all but essential travel advised against, how can you help to ensure your car remains roadworthy and safe without help from the experts?
For many years, Rangers Garage has been the choice for people searching for car servicing in Salisbury. Even though we’ve taken the decision to temporarily close our doors to protect our valued staff and customers, we want you to know that we’re still here to help! Below you’ll find some of our top tips and guidance for completing simple car safety checks at your home.
Check your fluids
This should be part of your standard car maintenance anyway, but now is a great time to check your car’s fluids. We particularly recommend checking your oil, screenwash and coolant levels as these fluids can all be ordered online and delivered to your door.
Checking your coolant
If you’re at all unsure, we recommend using your vehicle handbook to correctly identify your coolant tank – adding antifreeze to your screenwash tank could be a costly mistake! The coolant reservoir will have maximum and minimum levels on the side to guide you, and if you notice it needs topping up, you can do this yourself.
Top tip – Before you start, make sure the engine is cool before you remove the cap – the sudden release in pressure could make hot water spurt out.
Checking your oil
Car oil levels are tested by checking the dipstick found under your car bonnet. As with the coolant, the amount of oil should fall between the maximum and minimum levels. If you’ve had your oil changed recently, you can simply top it up yourself. As the maximum and minimum levels are not far apart, add the oil slowly and check the level frequently to avoid overfilling. Once you think you’ve got the level correct, run the engine for a few seconds, turn it off and then check the level again to be sure.
Top tip – Make sure your car is on an even surface when checking the oil and all other fluid levels.
Replace your wiper blades
Notice your windscreen wipers were squeaking or leaving smears last time you drove your vehicle? Wiper blades are prone to wear and tear, and as having a clear windscreen is vital for driving safely, they should always be replaced if this occurs.
Top tip – Make sure you measure the size of the wiper blade(s) you need, as the left and right wiper blades are often different sizes.
Replace a broken car antenna
Found yourself with a broken antenna that for some reason you’ve been putting off fixing? This really couldn’t be easier to resolve, simply unscrew the remaining portion of the antenna mast and replace with a new mast that can be ordered online. When your car is back in regular use, you’ll finally be able to listen to the radio again.
Check your car battery
This one is particularly important if you’re using your car far less frequently than usual. When not in use for long periods of time, car batteries will still naturally drain even if the engine isn’t on, so checking it is vital.
Firstly, take a look at the battery to make sure that it’s not visibly damaged or dirty, and that any clamps are nice and tight. If you think it could use a bit of a spruce up, make sure you disconnect the battery before you start, and then gently clean it.
Top tip – a mixture of water and baking soda makes the ideal car battery cleaning solution!
If you think your car might be inactive for a month or more, then we recommend completely removing the battery to avoid drainage.
Check your tyres
Checking your tyres isn’t just important before a long journey – it should definitely be part of your at-home car service. Key things to look out for are tyre pressure, tread depths, any noticeable bulges and objects that may have punctured the tyre.
Top tip – use a 20p to check your tyre treads! Put the 20p in the groove of your tyre tread, and if the outer band is visible it’s a sign that it’s time to replace your tyres. For more information, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09wPV20p-6I
Most of these tyre checks are visual, making them perfect for doing at home, and tyre pressure gauges can be bought online for as little as £15. You’ll usually find your ideal tyre pressures located on the inside of your car door or in your vehicle manual.
Conduct a deep clean
With improved hygiene on everyone’s radar at the moment, have you considered the germs that could be hiding in your car too? As well as giving the outside a good scrub, make sure you hoover inside, and spray and wipe the interior surfaces with an antibacterial cleaner.
Top tip – Use an earbud and an old toothbrush dipped in your cleaning solution of choice to give those tiny, difficult to reach areas a good clean too.
We also recommend keeping a supply of antibacterial wipes in your car, just in case.
Professional Salisbury car servicing
We hope that these tips will be enough to keep your car running and you busy whilst you’re unable to visit a car garage. When things are back to normal, you can rest assured that our car servicing experts at Rangers Garage will be on hand to give your car the full, professional car service that it needs.