Car maintenance tips to extend the life of your car

Like any high-maintenance item, if you don’t look after your car it will eventually let you down. A little bit of tender loving care regularly can mean the difference between a car performing flawlessly for years, and continual breakdowns and expensive repairs. At Automall, our expert service technicians look after our customers’ cars every single day, so they’ve put together their top five tips to help you extend the life of your car.

Weekly checks

Create a list of regular weekly checks and stick to it. By doing a ‘walk-around’ once a week, you’ll be able to quickly spot little issues before they become big problems. Look at things such as the condition of your tyres, the oil level, water level, and general condition of the engine. If you notice a new patch of oil that shouldn’t be there, then catching it earlier means a cheaper repair bill or, in extreme cases, preventing the car from suffering a catastrophic failure while out on the road.

Look for other things too, such as windscreen chips, making sure your lights work, and checking along the door sills for signs of rust.

Regular servicing

All manufacturers recommend that cars should undergo a full service every six months or at certain mileage points. This is because ‘consumables’ such as filters and spark plugs will eventually need changing to ensure the car continues to work at optimum efficiency.

A full, top-to-bottom service that’s carried out to manufacturer’s specifications is best left to an expert. Not only will they be familiar with various technical aspects such as checking engine mapping software and replacing precision parts, but they’ll have all the tools and access to approved spares too. If it’s time for a service, talk to Automall.

Good quality oil

Oil is the lifeblood of any engine. Putting the incorrect consistency engine oil into your vehicle will mean that moving parts that rely on lubrication are not correctly cared for, and will wear more quickly.

A good quality oil should have a thicker consistency and silky, smooth feel when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger. If it’s watery or feels slightly ‘gritty’ then it’s a poor quality, badly refined oil that could shorten the life of your engine considerably.

Carry out oil changes regularly, or ask your service technician to include an oil change in your annual or mileage-specific service.

Top tyre tips

We all know that the final contact point with the road is through our tyres. Good quality tyres will give you grip and traction you can rely on, even in the wet or in slippery conditions. However, if you don’t look after your tyres then not only do they represent a safety hazard, but they could also shorten the life of your car. Poorly or incorrectly inflated tyres make it harder for the engine to move the vehicle along the road, increasing your fuel consumption and putting undue strain on the engine. This may seem like a minuscule amount, but over time it can have a cumulative effect that can take years off the lifespan of an engine.

Always make sure your tyres are correctly inflated, have a good tread depth on them to displace water and provide grip, and are in good condition with no cracks or splits on the sidewalls.

Keeping things cool

If an engine overheats, it won’t take many miles before the head gasket fails and you have a catastrophic breakdown. Cars are particularly susceptible to overheating when in stationary traffic, especially if conditions are hot. Always make sure your coolant levels are topped up, and that your engine cooling system (usually a fan operated by a thermostat) is working correctly.

Keep an eye on that temperature dial, and if it starts creeping up, either pull over and turn the engine off and allow it to cool down, or get to a garage as quickly as you can. It goes without saying that if you do overheat then never, ever try and undo the radiator cap until the engine has completely cooled down.