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7 simple car care tips to help you save on maintenance bucks

It’s frustrating when the car breaks down and you need to spend those extra dollars to have it fixed up again. You can however, take some simple actions to reduce the frequency of car faults. Here are some tips you can adopt to maintain your car condition and save some maintenance dollars.

(i) Wash your car before it becomes too dirty

Our tropical weather means that rain can come pouring down anytime. With just a drizzle at times, dirt can accumulate on your car body, which also is at the mercy of bird and bug droppings. It is essential to wash your car regularly, as these can cause the paint to become dull, or even start to strip away. Use cleaning products meant for cars, as these would be gentle on the paint work. A clean sponge or cloth would also protect your car body and glass from scratches.

(ii) Note your driving style

Accelerating quickly upon starting up your engine would strain both your engine, as well as your radiator. Although the modern fuel injection cars we have today do not require sitting idle for ten minutes for the engine to warm up, the computer systems are programmed to help the car to warm up as quickly as possible. Driving more slowly at the start can help your car warm up to normal operating temperature.

(iii) Check your tyre pressure

Use a tyre gauge or make a stop to the petrol pump to check your tyre pressure at least once a month. Do this more frequently if you drive for long distances. Insufficient air pressure has the danger of leading to tyre blowouts, as the tire components are then strained beyond their limits.

(iv) Check your tyre depth

Your tyres usually come with treadwear indicators. You can usually find these at the bottom of the tyre grooves. If the tyres have worn to the same level as these indicators, it means it is time to have a tyre change for your personal safety, as there may not be enough friction with the roads. This would be made worse during one of our typical heavy downpours.

(v) Care for your car battery

Keep the connecting points of your car battery clean with baking soda, to prevent corrosion. Wipe off the baking soda once the cleaning is done, as this would otherwise waste your efforts, speeding up the corrosion process. There also needs to be sufficient electrolytes, covering the battery plates.

(vi) Check engine oil level

Do this check only when your car engine is cool, and parked on level ground. Simply locate the dipstick, pull it out and wipe off the oil from it. Then plunge it back in again, and pull it out. Check the oil level on the stick. This should be between the indicated minimum and maximum levels. If it has fallen below the minimum level, you would need an engine oil top up.

(vii) Check coolant level

The coolant is usually in a see through plastic tank in the car. Wait till your car engine has cooled off, and you would be able to view the coolant level against the marked levels on the exterior of the tank. If this has fallen below the minimum level, top it up to below the maximum line.

Regular car servicing would further help keep your car in tip top condition, and prevent a case of having a break down, which is particularly daunting in the middle of the highway. Make your own driving experience an enjoyable and safe one!

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