Cars need to be in top condition when we take to the roads – all the time. You do NOT, however, have to call out a mechanic or think ‘I should sell my car’ every time you notice something wrong, something that needs attention. Some smaller problems can be fixed by most of us. But, we’d like to stress, if for any reason you feel unsure then do ask the mechanic for his/her help if it will save you stress and – in the long run – money.
Before you even attempt to tackle any repairs, make sure the car is not switched on and that it has cooled down properly after you’ve driven it.
No car should be without the very basic tool kit. Make sure you have at least the following: a car jack, socket wrenches, screwdrivers and a set of pliers. Some people may attempt to do more than others, but the following issues are fairly easy to deal with:
A flat tyre
You should know immediately when your tyre goes flat. You will notice a thumping noise while driving. The car may also sway and it will feel as if you’re on the verge of losing control. Stop the car, slowly. Pull to the side of the road. Use the jack that you have in your tool kit and hoist the car upwards. Now find the locking wheel nut and ratchet, undo the nuts and remove the tyre. Now replace it with your spare tyre and tighten the wheel nuts again. Using the jack, lower the car and you’re ready to take to the road again. Get a new spare as soon as possible.
When you hear a clicking noise but there’s no power to start the car, the battery is flat. You will know it and you don’t need a tow-in service. To make sure, remove the battery and let the mechanic test it for you. First unscrew the negative terminal, and then the positive. If there’s a ground wire, undo that too and take the battery to the garage to be tested.
Every car needs a change after 3,000 – or maximum 5,000 – miles. Check your owner’s manual to see what oil the car uses, and how much. Also know what oil filter you need. Make sure you know where to find the oil pan bolt. Loosen it and drain the old oil. Replace the old oil filter, tighten the bolt again and refill your engine with the new oil.
Air filters normally last up to 12,000 miles before they need to be replaced. To establish whether you need a new filter you inspect it with a shop light. If 50% or more of the light is blocked, then you need a new one. Simply unscrew the air filter box retainers and take out the old filter. Replace it with the new filter.