Wed | Apr 14, 2021

Tips on good car maintenance

Published:Sunday | March 21, 2021 | 12:06 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

Good car maintenance will have it singing a happy tune. When we own a vehicle, we expect it to provide us with excellent service. However, a car does not service itself automatically. We have to plan how and when to service such a valuable asset.

The cost of servicing is not all that cheap, but the cost far outweighs how it will take care of its owner on the road. Additionally, with this COVID phenomenon, drivers are reminded to ensure they have their sanitisation protocols in place and practise them. For example, the sanitisation of the hands, and masks wearing by anyone entering the vehicle. Also the steering wheel, door handles, mirrors, dashboards and so forth, should be sanitised on a regular basis.

According to Janeil Allen, educator, it is very important that car owners service their cars on a regular basis and especially in these times where the world has changed drastically because of the coronavirus. Servicing and keeping your car germ-free is beneficial to everyone present in the vehicle. “Cleaning your car is beneficial to your health, as it prevents the spread of the virus getting into your body and from passing to others,” Allen adds.

One of the first things that one should do is peruse the car’s manual thoroughly. Useful information is always written there. Before taking a trip, find out about the air pressure that the car tyres require and make the necessary adjustments. “Tyres which are kept properly inflated last much longer.” says Cleveland Smith, tyre specialist. “Also, check the spare tyre, it will come in handy one day,” he adds.

• If one’s windshield wipers scratch the windshield or leave disgusting water marks or streaks, the wiper blades need changing. When installing the replacements, lift each wiper arm, then press the button or release the clip that holds the rubber blade in place. Slip the old one out, then put the new one in its place.

• If the radio stops working, check the fuses. A fuse is a small glass tube with a thin metal strip (filament) inside, usually located under the dashboard.

• A defective fuse has a blackish look or has a broken filament. Pry it out with a pin or a pointed object. Then, read the number on the metal cap at one end to determine the correct replacement size.

• For burned-out headlights, use a screwdriver to remove the parts. Place the removed parts on a sheet of white paper or newspaper from left to right, so you will remember what goes where and there will be no parts left out.

• To remove bulbs, push in and twist counter-clockwise; then screw the new headlights, making sure the numbers are facing up.

• Ensure that you know how to open the hood of the car. Check oil regularly. The ring end of the oil dipstick is usually on the driver’s side of the motor. Gently pull it out, clear the oily end with a rag, then push the dipstick back into place. If it gets stuck, twist it.

• Take out the stick again and read the end. You need oil if the oily film is at or below the line marked “add.”

• Clean the battery terminals when needed. The crusty, whitish, acid deposits on the battery terminals can make the car hard to start. Scrub away this build-up with an oil toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water. Smear the terminals with Vaseline to prevent deposits from reforming. Also check water level and add distilled water if plates are exposed.