Plenty of us have got stuck into the spring cleaning in the last few weeks, but why stop at the house? Now is a great time to give your car the once over, inside and out – especially if you plan on clocking up the miles at home or abroad during your summer holidays. Here’s our essential checklist…
Your tyres keep you on the straight and narrow so it pays to look after them. Now is the time to check the tread depth on all four of them – while the legal minimum is 1.6mm, we recommend no less than 3mm for safe driving.
Don’t forget to check the tyres for signs of wear and tear too, and consult a tyre specialist if you have any concerns.
Finally, top them up with air. You can do this for free at many petrol stations – check your manual or search online to find out the right tyre pressure for your car’s make and model.
Oh, and make sure you have a spare if there’s space for one in your vehicle.
If you want to keep your car running smoothly, you need to do a regular check of the quantity and condition of the oil in your engine – monthly and before any long journey.
Make sure you have enough oil – and that it’s in good nick – by using the dipstick in your engine. Park on level ground and make sure the engine has been off for a few minutes to let it cool and settle. Locate and remove the dipstick, wipe clean with a cloth and replace it fully. Then pull it out and check the oil level against the markings on the stick.
These vary from engine to engine but you should be able to see two marks – high and low. If the oil level is between the two marks then you have no problem. If it’s below the lower mark then add some oil – make sure to check which type is right for your car. Be sure not to overfill the engine as this can get very messy.
The principles above also apply for engine coolant – it keeps things cool in summer and acts as antifreeze in winter so it’s very important to keep track of how much you have.
Top up your screen wash reservoir before any long journey, and keep some in the boot in case you ever run out. Here’s a tip – decant some into a small bottle so you can leave the big jug at home.
Take a close look at your windscreen wipers too – if they are causing streaks or smears as they wipe, or if you can see any damage to the rubber, then it’s time to replace them.
We all like to think we keep our car spick and span but let’s be honest – it doesn’t always work like that. Why not take the opportunity to treat your motor to a thorough clean – inside and out?
Take it to a high quality valeting service for a professional job that will leave the interior and boot spotless and fragrant. Finish the job with a hand wash and wax – many firms will do both for a single fee.
When is the last time you updated your satnav? You should really do it every three to six months, as road layouts can change and new developments and roads are being built or altered all the time. It’s also important to do so before a big trip – you may be able to download maps for foreign countries too.
If you have the manual handy, it will take you through the process of updating your maps. If not, head to the manufacturer’s website for instructions and downloads. You may need to register first, so have your device’s serial number handy.
You’ll also need a USB connector for your device – if you’ve lost yours you should be able to find a replacement on the manufacturer’s website or by searching online.
AA membership covers you 24/7 whether you’re a driver or a passenger, meaning that we cover YOU, not your car. Our patrols fix 8 out of 10 of our members’ cars on the roadside. Just €8.25 per month offers peace of mind and is a piece of cake for you to arrange. Click here to get started.