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Looking After Your Car​

So, you've got your fab new wheels, you're on the road - freedom beckons!

To keep things running smoothly and reliably, here's a note of a few things to bear in mind....

There's no escaping the fact that, to keep your car working properly, you do need to give it a bit of attention from time to time. Here's a reminder of what you might need to check on an on-going basis.....

Weekly

  • Remember to keep topped up with fuel!! Obvious, yes, but oh so easy to keep driving and then realise you're running low and you're nowhere near a petrol station. Don't let the tank run too low as it doesn't do it any good. Most cars have a fuel warning light which comes on the dashboard when you've got about 20 miles left. Familiarise yourself with this on the dashboard and in the car's handbook. Make sure you know how to release the fuel filler cap - and make sure you use the right fuel for your car - is it unleaded petrol or diesel? Putting the wrong fuel in can really damage the engine if you drive off and having the system drained is expensive.
  • Top up the windscreen washer fluid - another obvious but important one. Remember to put in a reasonable quality screenwash and dilute it down with water. Putting low quality screenwash in the bottle eventually gunges up the nozzles and they won't spray when needed. Screenwash contains an anti freezing agent, so if the weather is colder, dilute it less. In winter the tubes and nozzles can freeze if you just use water, then your screen wash won't work. It is essential to keep the screen clear for good visibility in all weathers.
  • Check the tyre pressures - same as riding a bike with squishy tyres, your car needs to have the right amount of pressure in the tyres. Check the pressures recommended in your car handbook. Usually they are different front and back. Learn how to check and adjust them yourself either using a gadget bought at somewhere like Halfords and a foot pump, or going to a local petrol station which normally has a tyre pressure gauge on site.
  • Check under the bonnet - learn where to look for oil and water checks. The dipstick will tell you the oil level in the engine and the water/coolant bottle has a gauge inscribed on it. Make sure they are kept topped up with the right fluids to the right level. Get someone to help you at first.
  • Give the car a wash! - you may be someone who is going to be washing and polishing your pride and joy on a daily basis (!) or the novelty may wear off after a while and it slips to once a month or longer! Either way, it's good to wash the car reasonably regularly to keep windscreen and wing mirrors clear for good visibility, and the paintwork in good condition. 'Bird lime' (polite name) for example, can quickly corrode the paintwork if left on the car too long.

Every 6 Months

  • In between services it is worth taking your car into a dealership for a vehicle health check. These are often free of charge, or are offered for a very reasonable price as seasonal checks. The check takes about 20-30 minutes and the Technician puts your car on the ramp and takes a good look at the condition of the brake pads, tyres, under-carriage, exhaust and under the bonnet, checking all the components. The Technician then produces a checklist report telling you - with a traffic light system - what he recommends. For example, green light means no action required, amber light is usually caution, components may need changing in a few months and red light is, take action now!!
    You can book in for a vehicle health check at any one of our branches here:

    Book A Vehicle Health Check

Every Year

  • Book in for a service. - This may need to happen more frequently if you do a very high mileage. For example, if your car's service schedule is "every year or 10,000 miles, whichever occurs sooner" - and you do 12,000 miles per year, you need to book in when the mileage dictates, not the date. Make sure the dealer or garage stamps the service book to prove you've had it done, and don't forget to take the locking wheel nut with you in case they need it!
  • Book in for an MOT - once your car reaches 3 years old (from the date of its first registration, not from when you bought it) - you will need to have an MOT test carried out once per year. This keeps your car legal and this is registered digitally with the DVLA. Look out for regular offers on MOT price, or take out a JCB Loyalty Card to save on the price.
  • Remember to pay your road tax! - Road tax is payable every year - there's no getting away from it, the DVLA send you a reminder :(
    Check how much it's likely to be here.

There's a lot to consider and quite a bit of expense to budget for.  The JCB Group has a couple of things that might help you budget more efficiently for these expenses...