You Passed Your Test!
So you’ve worked hard and listened to your instructor, and you’ve passed your driving test first time! Well done, but of course this isn’t the end of anything it’s the beginning. The start of owning your own car and going wherever you want to go. The freedom of the road awaits!
During the driving test you will have touched on the idea of car maintenance, with the ‘show me tell me’ questions. These are designed to make sure you know how to keep your car in safe working order by checking things like the oil, water and tyres. They are a good start, and shouldn’t be disregarded as an easy part of the test. If you have just bought your own car it is likely to be a second hand car, which will benefit from regular maintenance. If you can do this yourself you will save money and time. It is far better to keep everything working well than break down half way to your destination.
These are our top tips to simple vehicle maintenance, some are covered in the ‘show me tell me’ questions, others will just help you to keep on the road safely.
Look after your battery.
A flat battery is more of a nuisance that a safety hazard, which is why it doesn’t get mentioned on the driving test. It is however one of the most frequent causes of breakdowns, and is easily avoided. If you use you car frequently you shouldn’t have any problems with your battery unless you have accidently drained it. If your car hasn’t moved for a while it could go flat.
A common cause of a flat battery is leaving your lights on when parked. Most cars have a warning alarm if you open the drivers door and still have your lights on, it is worth checking if this is a feature of your car. The radio can also drain the battery, so if you are washing your car don’t put the car radio on as entertainment whilst you wash, you might regret it later! Use a portable speaker or your mobile instead and you won’t have a problem.
If your battery is getting a bit old you can always consider getting a replacement – nothing lasts forever. They are an inexpensive an easy part to replace, most batteries come with a 3 to 5 year guarantee.
Check your tyres
Tyre condition and pressure is part of the driving test, as this is a safety issue as well as a common cause of break downs. It is worth checking your tyres regularly, if you have tyres at a low pressure you will use more fuel, so your journeys will cost you more. Tyres at low pressure will affect your cars handling and ability to stop, so you are more likely to have an accident as well.
It’s worth having a tyre pressure gauge – your car may have a monitoring system so a light will come on if they are at low pressure. A tyre pressure gauge will be more accurate, and you will be able to catch problems before the light would be triggered. Whilst you’re checking the tyre pressure you should also check the condition of the tyres. It’s important that your tyres have no defects and the tread is well within the legal limits. Worn tyres are more likely to get a puncture, so keeping them in good condition will keep you on the road.
Check oil, coolant and break fluid
These are all part of the test, but it’s important to keep your engine running smoothly to ensure you have the right amount of oil and coolant. To avoid accidents you should always ensure you have the right amount of break fluid. It’s a good idea to check these once a month, and keep a supply of oil, coolant and break fluid so if you need to top it up you can without a trip to the shops.
That’s our brief guide to car maintenance, there are plenty more tips that you can learn. If you join a car club or take a course in vehicle maintenance you will be amazed at how easy it is to keep your car in a good condition. This will save you time and money in the long run.
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If you haven’t passed your test yet, but would like to get on the road why not contact us for some lessons.
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