Many common motoring issues can be avoided by carrying out some routine maintenance. Regular TLC can help to keep your car running smoothly for longer, and most of it can be done yourself at home. Plus, as the cost-of-living hits, you might be keen to start getting your hands dirty with some small, easy jobs that can keep your car in good health long-term.
So, we’ve consulted our team of Halfords experts to provide you with ten top tips for taking care of your car right on your driveway, to help you save money and live more sustainably!
1. Maintain a healthy tyre pressure
As your car’s only point of contact with the road, it’s important to make sure that your tyres are well cared for to extend their life and prevent premature damage.
Low tyre pressure can not only wear your tyres and increase the chance of a puncture, but it can also put you at risk – it can extend your braking distance in wet conditions, increase fuel usage, and lead to your car’s responses being delayed or less precise.
Check the pressure of all your tyres on a weekly basis and keep them at the level recommended by the manufacturer – this information can be found in your owner’s manual or online. You can find our guide on how to check and inflate your car tyres here. It’s also worth checking for any other damage or signs of wear while you’re inflating.
Not sure what to look for? At Halfords, we can inspect the safety of your tyres for free, with our Free Tyre Check. Our expert technicians will carry out a pressure check and inspect for tread depth, wear and damage to ensure your tyres are safe and legal.
2. Keep an eye on under-bonnet levels
There are a lot of important liquids under your bonnet – oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and screenwash all play a vital role in keeping your car moving safely.
Be sure to check them on a monthly basis, or more frequently if you’re doing higher mileages, and top them up to help everything run smoothly.
For a helping hand, head over to Halfords where we can check your oil level, top up your screenwash, and check your AdBlue and coolant levels as part of our 10-point car check – plus, you’ll have your lights, wiper blades, battery, tyres and more checked too!
You can get a free 10-point car check when you join the Halfords Motoring Club for free, alongside a host of other benefits worth £30. Or upgrade to Premium for a small monthly fee (or a one-off payment) to unlock exclusive member pricing on all motoring products and services online and across our stores, garages and Halfords Mobile Experts, as well as a variety of other benefits that will help you to keep moving for less.
3. Lubricate your hinges
The hinges of your door, boot and bonnet can wear and stick over time if they’re dry and unlubricated, and may even break altogether. This is completely avoidable with just a bit of regular maintenance, and you can do it yourself at home.
You can keep things moving freely with a bit of lubricating oil or white lithium grease, applied directly to the hinge. Open and close the door a few times to work the lubricant into all the moving parts of the hinge, then wipe away any excess if necessary. Plus, keeping things lubricated will silence any annoying squeaks too.
4. Wash your car when it’s dirty
You may think that cleaning your car is purely for cosmetic purposes, but it can also help to prolong the life of its parts. Road grime and salt can eat away at the exposed areas of your car, so giving everything a regular clean can prevent any lasting damage.
It’s especially important to give your car a good wash after a journey that’s built up the dirt and grime, in order to prolong the life of your car and its parts. For a step-by-step clean routine, plus our tips and tricks for a professional finish, check out our ultimate guide on how to wash your car.
One thing to remember: never use washing-up liquid to wash your car. Although it may be cost-effective initially, it can damage your paintwork in the long term. Try a dedicated car shampoo instead to be tough on dirt but kind to your car.
5. Regularly clean your windscreen
A clean windscreen is not only important to stay safe on the roads, but it can also protect the health of your wiper blades. A windscreen filled with grime, dirt, and debris will likely catch and damage your blades, meaning you’ll need to replace them more often.
So, a quick and easy way to avoid the extra work and unnecessary spending is to keep your windscreen clear of road grime and debris. Give your windscreen a good clean when you wash your car and make sure your screenwash is topped up to clear away any dirt when you’re on the move.
6. Drive sensibly
Car maintenance doesn’t just have to happen on your drive – the way you use your car can help too. Erratic acceleration and deceleration can put more pressure on your engine, and increase the wear and tear on your brakes, steering, and suspension.
To keep everything in good health, try to drive in a smooth and measured way. Plus, it’ll help you to save fuel too.
7. Use your handbrake
In an automatic car, it can be easy to just use the “park” function when you’re pulling up. However, in neglecting your handbrake you run the risk of the components seizing up, resulting in an MOT fail.
To avoid this, try to use your handbrake when you park up to keep everything moving freely.
8. Find time for a long drive
If you drive a diesel and tend to only drive short distances, try to schedule a “good run” every couple of weeks to prevent the diesel particulate filter from becoming blocked.
There are also products on the market that can help to prevent this too – running a DPF cleaner through your tank every 1800 miles or so should keep everything clean, and you can also book in for a DPF Maintenance Treatment at your local Halfords garage.
9. Avoid short trips where possible
Only undertaking short journeys can put a strain on your vehicle, as it doesn’t give certain components time to work as they should. Your battery needs longer drives to be fully recharged by the alternator, and your oil needs the length of a longer journey to evaporate accumulated moisture.
If you’ve got a short trip to make, consider whether you can walk, use public transport, or cycle instead. If it’s time for a new bike, we’ve got hundreds of affordable, quality models to suit your needs.
10. Regular servicing
One of the best and most comprehensive ways to care for your car is to book a regular service with a trusted garage.
Cars have many moving parts that will naturally wear over time, and regular maintenance in the form of servicing can help to keep these parts functional. Jobs such as filter replacements, oil changes, and replacing components like the timing and drive belts can help to prevent them from failing mid-journey.
Halfords’ range of car services are carried out by our qualified, expert technicians, and we only use quality Original Equipment Manufacturer Specification Parts. We guarantee all work for 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever is sooner. Plus, booking your service alongside your MOT can save you up to £44 when you join the Halfords Motoring Club for free. You can find your car’s maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.
Keeping your car in good shape can start right on your own driveway, by keeping up some easy, cost-effective habits. But, if there’s anything you’re unsure of or want a helping hand with, don’t hesitate to come to us. Pop into your local Halfords store or garage where one of our experts will be happy to help.
You want to keep motoring for less, you want Halfords.