Would you consider performing your own heart surgery?
Didn’t think so.
While once upon a time cars had a lot of moving mechanical parts which made some of them easy to fix and repair in DIY fashion, most modern cars are computer automated and some are so kitted out with fandangled whizbang gadgets that even something as simple as changing a lightbulb ends up being a complex job requiring specialist tools.
So, the answer is overwhelmingly YES, you do need a mechanic. Quite simply, if you don’t know what you’re doing you run the risk of not doing the job properly or causing damage to your vehicle.
Don’t learn this lesson the hard way: It’s always best to get professional advice.
But in between regular car servicing there are several things you can do which fall under the term ‘car maintenance’ and these are necessary to keep your car in tip top shape.
Car maintenance checklist
- Check your oil
Modern cars don’t tend to run through the oil like the old ‘vintage’ style ones. Nevertheless, checking the oil is a good habit to get into regularly, and especially before a long trip.
Check your engine oil when your car engine is warm and on level ground. Stop the engine and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle, remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Push the dipstick all the way into the receiver in the engine, wait a second, and then withdraw it and check the level. It should be between the two lines. Make sure you know what type of oil to put into the engine – whether to use synthetic or non-synthetic oil.
Other things to keep an eye on include coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and transmission fluid. If your car doesn’t alert you to problems, you can generally tell because there’s something wrong with the engine temperature, or the steering, the brakes or the gears.
If you spot a leak under your car, that’s worth keeping an eye on too. You will need a mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.
- Maintain tyre pressure
Again, most modern vehicles will have a signal that lights up on the dashboard, alerting you to low tyre pressure, and that’s when to check. Low tyre pressure can cause a number of problems – it can affect your petrol consumption, it can increase wear and tear on the tyres and it can affect your ability to stop and meanouver quickly. Your Owner’s Manual will prescribe the right tyre pressure for your vehicle.
Your tyres should be rotated on a regular basis, and they will need replacing from time-to-time too, but that’s definitely a job for the professionals.
- Test your lights
Lights that aren’t working properly, or aren’t clean and clear are considered a safety hazard and can attract a hefty fine in Australia. Every now and again it’s worth making sure your lights, brake lights, and hazard lights are all functioning well.
- Wash Your Car
Washing your car regularly gives you a chance to check on things like the lights and the windshield wipers that you might not necessarily use every day. But more than that, it also helps to protect your paint. The sun, salty air, snow, dust, dirt, and bird droppings … can all affect the paint if left too long. Inside too, can be affected by grit and general use, so when you wash your car, wash it inside and out.
- Keep your insurance up to date.
Insurance just makes things simple if something does go wrong. Make sure your policy is up to date and that it reflects any changes in how often you drive your car, and where it’s generally kept. Many insurers offer discounts if you have alarms, or lockable garages, so it’s worthwhile reviewing your insurance from time to time, just to make sure you’re getting the cover you need, at a good price.
- Maintain a regular car servicing schedule
The most important thing you can do for the safety of yourself, and your passengers, and to ensure the longevity of your car is stick to a regular servicing schedule. It can be inconvenient to have to leave the car with the mechanic and then find your own way to work, or back home, or to try to reschedule other chores around the absence of your vehicle. That’s why we come to you.
QuickStart Mobile Mechanics offers mobile services across Parramatta, Castle Hill and Western Sydney, so book with us, and we’ll come to you, wherever you are, at a time that’s convenient.