When it comes to the open road, we all like to think we’re in control. But whether you drive a mini or a minibus, it’s important to know how to keep your vehicle in good condition if you want to avoid roadside breakdowns and big maintenance bills. Here are 7 tips for keeping your car on the road.
If you’re careful, your car will reward you by costing you less to fill up, maintain and service. So avoid revving, even when starting up, accelerate slowly, and keep it in neutral when idling at lights, or in jams. Avoid driving too fast and accelerating quickly, especially when it’s very hot or very cold outside. Try to avoid turning the steering wheel to its full extent, as it can damage the steering pump, and try and avoid hazards. Potholes, kerbs and obstacles can wear out your tyres and stop you keeping your car on the road.
Some stations don’t have filters, or don’t change the filters regularly, which can mean your car is filled up with dirty fuel. Some stations may even dilute their fuel, so keeping your car on the road depends on steering clear of poor quality or dirty fuel. Find a station you know and trust, and stick to it. Also, avoid filling up immediately after the fuel has been delivered to the station. The action of filling the underground tanks can stir up sediment which needs time to settle before you draw off the fuel.
If you find yourself stuck in mud, or snow, don’t make it worse by throwing the car from forward to reverse gear repeatedly, spinning your tyres, or rocking violently. All these can generate heat and cause damage to the transmission, the clutch and the differentials. Carry a small amount of sand or gravel if you think you may be heading somewhere you may get stuck, then you can cover the ground in front of the wheels and give the tyres something to grip, enabling you to keep your car on the road.
Door keys, house keys, penknives, lucky charms, fluffy animals, we all carry vast bunches of these things around with us. If you overload your ignition by hanging a heavy weight on it, it can suffer when the ignition chamber is bounced about on the road, and can eventually lead to ignition failure. You can add years to your ignition switch by keeping the weight in your pocket and attaching the ignition key on a long light chain. If your ignition key sticks when you turn it on, it’s a warning that your switch is about to fail. Keep your car on the road by replacing it before you get stranded.
The cheapest deal isn’t necessarily the best deal. If disaster strikes you need the best insurer, one which will pay for parts from the original manufacturer and will pay for you to choose a reputable and relevant repairer, so you can get your car back on the road sooner and keep your car on the road for longer
Keep a notepad in the car and pencil and record your mileage. If you notice that your fuel consumption is getting faster, take the car for a service. This is often a sign that something is wrong. Keeping your car on the road means noticing when things change, so be sure to stay vigilant.
Make sure your tyres are properly inflated, using the tyre pressure monitor in your local garage. Low tyres wear out more quickly, are prone to damage, and will reduce your mileage per gallon of fuel. Replace your spark plugs regularly, and check with your servicing garage to make sure they do it. Test that your petrol cap fits properly, thousands of gallons of fuel escape into the air through badly fitting caps. Test light bulbs and windscreen wipers regularly and make a note of then they are replaced, so you know when they’ll need to be done. Whatever you need to keep your car on the road, make sure you buy it in plenty of time, alert your service garage or take time to fit it before the old one wears out.
With these top tips for keeping your car on the road your vehicle should be a minimum hassle. By the time you’re reminded with a warning light, or worse, a breakdown, it may be too late. But follow these guidelines and you’ll be out on the road for longer, at far less cost.
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