We here at Grease Monkey Direct decided to pull together a list of eight of the most common and basic errors encountered by car owners when looking after their car. Although the areas covered are straightforward, sometimes it's good to have a recap of some of the basics. Here's a list of some things to look out for when you are caring for your pride and joy:
ASSUMING BALD TYRES WILL LAST A LITTLE LONGER:
It's human nature to try and squeeze a few more miles out of your rubber, but it's definitely not a good idea. Your tyres are the only part of your car that make contact with the road and ensuring they are in good condition is of the utmost importance.
When it rains, the grooves in a tyre help channel water away so the tire can maintain contact with the road. This helps reduce the chance of hydroplaning. But the grooves on a worn tire tread are too shallow to effectively evacuate water from beneath the tire. Driving on bald tires in rain can result in anything from difficulty stopping to a complete loss of vehicle control.
For more on Tyre Safety click here.
NOT CHECKING TYRE PRESSURE
It is worth remembering that even when a tyre looks properly inflated it could be low on air. Tyre pressure should be checked regularly. Although the tyres may not blow out, low tyre pressure could lead to poor fuel economy and costing you money. Tyres lose pressure and leak air naturally (especially when the temperature fluctuates throughout the day) so it is important to ensure that your tyres are properly inflated. It's recommended that you check your tyre pressure once a month, and before a long journey.
PUTTING WATER IN THE WINDSCREEN WASH RESERVOIR:
Don't put water in the windscreen wash reservoir. Water freezes at zero degrees. If you live in a cold climate, the water can freeze. As it expands it can damage your windscreen wash system, causing pipes to crack, and even break the pumps.
Also, according to the BBC, using water instead of a proper windscreen wash can create an environment in which harmful microbes can thrive. Spraying your windscreen could result in spraying of harmful microbes. For the sake of a few pound, be sure to use proper windscreen wash.
DEFROSTING A WINDSCREEN WITH HOT WATER:
While we are on the subject of windscreens, never use hot water to defrost a frozen window. The sudden change in temperature can cause the windscreen to crack. If you must use water, use moderately warm water. However there are numerous safer ways to defrost a frozen window. Click here - for tips on how to deal with a frozen windscreen.
USING HOME WINDOW CLEANER TO CLEAN THE REAR WINDOW:
This is a simple mistake, but a big one. Most home glass cleaners contain ammonia. Ammonia is a chemical that overtime will break down the heating elements on your rear windscreen. These heating elements are actually small wires designed to distribute heat across your rear window to help defrost it. Only use cleaner designed specifically for automotive purposes.
IGNORING THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT:
When the Check Engine light comes on it really is important to have a mechanic take a look at your engine as soon as possible. It can be easy to ignore or postpone the trip to the garage, because although you have seen the warning, the car may be driving well. As the car feels fine the tendency may be to delay having the engine checked. However, the longer you wait, the greater the cost of repair could be. So, when the light comes on, plan a trip to the mechanic as soon as possible.
ATTEMPTING TO JUMP START A CAR WITHOUT KNOWING HOW IT'S DONE:
It is a good idea to have a set of jump cables in the boot so that you are prepared for the eventuality. However putting jump cables in the boot doesn't mean you automatically know how to jump-start a car and it is important that you know how to do this properly.
If jump leads are used incorrectly, you can fry your car, or yourself. The procedure is really simple, but you should learn how to do it properly before you actually need to.
NOT CHANGING WORN WINDSCREEN WIPERS:
Windscreen wipers deteriorate over time. They tear and crack and as a result leave streaks across the windscreen when used. It is recommended that you change your wipers as soon as they begin to age, and don't clean the windscreen properly. Rain, snow, and other precipitation can severely reduce your visibility and reduce your ability to see the road and other vehicles clearly leading to obvious dangers. Change your wipers regularly.