With the average UK motorist making 986 trips and covering 6536 miles per year in their car (source), it’s possible that some drivers can leave their motor in need of a little tender loving care when it comes to basic maintenance issues – but how can you make sure you give your vehicle the care it needs? Find out with the Trust My Garage blog!
You should check your tyre pressures at least every two weeks – and if your vehicle has a spare, check that too! Under inflated tyres increase fuel consumption and reduce vehicle handling, and they also lead to increased tyre wear, which means your tyres may require replacing sooner than you expect.
The legal limit for minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the whole tyre, however it is recommended to keep your tyres at 3mm or above for optimum grip. Drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre. You should also look out for cuts or wear anywhere on the tyre and replace them if you can see tears or bulges.
Use your dipstick (if your vehicle has one) to check oil levels every couple of weeks, when the car is warm and on level ground. Stop the engine and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle, remove the dipstick and wipe it clean.
Push the dipstick all the way in, wait a second, and then withdraw it and check the level. The oil should be between the MIN and MAX marks. If the oil is dark or dirty or underneath the minimum line (or both!) It should be topped up/changed as soon as possible.
Many modern vehicles use an electronic system to check their oil level, so if your vehicle uses this you should familiarise yourself with the system.
It is illegal under the Road Vehicles Regulations 1986 to not have screenwash in your vehicle. Keep it regularly topped up with a screenwash additive – one that prevents it from freezing and clears oily grime from your windscreen for clear vision.
Don’t forget to keep the inside clean too, to avoid your vision being reduced due to glare – especially when the sun gets lower in the sky during daily commutes to and from work.
Every week, while your engine is cold, check your coolant level is between the MIN and MAX marks – if it’s below the minimum line, top it up as required, and check it again after your next journey.
If your coolant level regularly requires topping up you may have a leak in the vehicle’s cooling system, so get it checked out by your local garage!
Keep an eye out for stone damage and, if you spot any chips, get them repaired as soon as possible – as they can grow and crack if left alone. If the damage can’t be repaired, or it’s in a place where it could distract you, your windscreen may need to be replaced.
Many motor insurance policies provide discounted or free chip repairs, and detail how to proceed with your repair.
It’s important to give your car panels an occasional check for any damage, or signs of rust. If you notice any rusty or damaged areas, you can contact a local bodyshop to see how best to proceed with any repairs.
Take a walk around your vehicle or ask a friend to help check all your lights – including indicators, reversing lights, brake lights and fog lights – once a week. Look out for blown bulbs and cracks or dirt on the lenses.
Your vehicle can receive a Minor Defect notification on its MOT if your indicators do not “flash amber” in compliance with the requirements, so if you have any issues with fading indicator lights you should replace them or have a local garage inspect them – you may only need a new bulb!
If a bulb has broken and you don’t want to replace it yourself you can also take your vehicle to a local garage, who can fix the issue and help you avoid a penalty.
Not sure how best to care for your car?
Our ‘What to do when…’ series can provide some further tips and insight across other areas of motoring and vehicle maintenance to help you ensure your motor is running at its best! You can check out our other posts in the series here.
If you’re looking for a professional local garage to help give your car some TLC you can find a local CTSI approved Trust My Garage member by visiting the Trust My Garage website’s ‘Find a Garage’ map! You can even read reviews from other motorists about the members in your area to help you decide which garage is right for you. Try it out here:
Want to know what we do?
Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s trusted local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.
Every garage in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who have to comply with a strict code of practice.
Each and every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for you and your vehicle.
Don’t forget: If you can think of any more top TLC tips, leave us a comment in the box below!
We’ve all been there – you’re out on the road and you hear a suspicious noise, or you’ve tried to start your car in the morning and it just won’t start. It’s one of the unpredictable parts of motoring, but what should you do when your vehicle needs parts for a repair? Trust My Garage has the answers!
Have a professional diagnose the problem
First things first, it’s important to know exactly what the problem is. The average UK motorist usually does not have an in-depth knowledge of exactly how their vehicle functions, but sometimes providing the smallest piece of information can help your local Trust My Garage Member find the cause of your problem.
Modern vehicles are complex machines and accurate diagnosis by an experienced professional can save you time and money. Research has shown that, on average, motorists spend over £170 having their own attempts at vehicle repair fixed by a professional. If you need to find a local, reputable garage you can rely on Trust My Garage’s “Find a Garage map” to see which businesses in your area subscribe to our CTSI-approved code of Conduct. Try it out below:
See what parts are needed
Should your vehicle need parts to complete the repair, these will be quoted for, along with the labour cost to fit them. If you’re looking to compare more than one garage’s prices you can ask for this information upfront before going ahead with any work to be completed.
All Trust My Garage members operate under a “Customer Charter”, where they promise to treat the customer and their vehicle with respect. As part of this Charter, you can ask for a fixed quote or estimate, inclusive of parts, labour and VAT prior to approving any work on your vehicle.
Utilise garage for professional repair and warranty
If your vehicle does need new parts to get it back into a safe and roadworthy condition, it could be tempting to cut costs by purchasing your own parts from a supplier and asking a garage to fit them – but this is where some serious issues could develop.
As a customer, it may be possible to purchase parts that appear cheaper than the initial quote provided by a garage and then ask them for a cost to fit those parts – however, doing so could cost you much more, further down the line. If the parts are not correct for any reason, or are counterfeit, it could cause serious damage to your vehicle or even cause an accident, putting you, your family and other road users at risk. You may even have to pay a for the job to be done again with the correct parts!
Many garages now refuse to fit parts supplied by a customer as they cannot guarantee the integrity of the part itself, and therefore the repair – and you can read more about why here.
Essentially, if the garage has sourced the part, it is responsible for the job from start to finish, and will deal with any warranty issues in line with parts manufacturers terms and conditions should there be an issue. If a consumer supplies a part that is incorrect or malfunctions down the line, it can be difficult to establish whether the problem was caused by the garage’s fitting of the part, or part itself.
Although there is some room for interpretation under the law, it is a garage’s obligation as the expert, to not proceed with the fitment if they believe the parts supplied to be unfit for purpose or of unknown quality. Even if a customer signed a declaration relinquishing any warranty claims between themselves and the garage.
Protect yourself and your vehicle
Although wanting to save money is understandable, vehicles are complicated pieces of machinery and it’s always best to let a trained technician do their job – after all, they understand the ins and out of vehicles that drive on to their premises.
As well as this, using the wrong part could damage your vehicle, so you could be out of pocket and still be left with a problem that needs solving. It’s much safer and better value in the long run to use the skills of a trained technician, such as one of our TMG members.
Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s best local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.
All the garages in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who agree to comply with a strict code of practice, so every customer using Trust My Garage members can rely on a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value for your money.