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Essential Car Maintenance for the Motorist

Owning a vehicle has its advantages, of course, being able to jump in the car at any time and go wherever you please is certainly a luxury that we all take for granted, but it does come at a cost. Aside from the big ticket purchase to buy the car, you also have the upkeep, not to mention fuel, and one can reduce the maintenance costs by going down the DIY road. If you are in the dark about the inner workings of a car, here are some basic maintenance tasks that must be performed.

Engine Oil Replacement

The engine oil is the life blood of the engine, as it keeps all the moving parts lubricated and should the oil level drop below a critical level, you can destroy an internal combustion engine completely. It isn’t just the quantity of engine oil that matters, the quality is just as important, and oil does lose its properties as the mileage clocks up, and although each manufacturer would have their own specifications about oil changes, as an average, you would replace the engine oil (and filter) every 6,000 miles.


All motor vehicles require engine coolant, which typically runs through channels in the engine block, cooling as it goes, then it is pumped back to the radiator, which is air cooled and then it repeats the cycle, thus cooling the engine. If you live in the UK, you would need to add anti-freeze to the water, as subzero temperatures can cause serious damage to the cooling system of a car, and you should check the coolant level weekly, topping up when necessary. Older vehicles tend to use more water, and if you have an old BMW for sale your local dealer could offer you a good trade in price for a new model.


Very important, as they are your contact with the road surface and tyres need to be inflated to the correct pressure, which would be in your owner’s manual, and that PSI value should not be exceeded. Tyres should be closely examined frequently, looking for any bumps of the sidewalls or foreign objects that are wedged into the tread, and the tread itself should be at least 5mm in depth, as less than this can cause the car to lose grip, especially in wet conditions.


The brakes on a modern vehicle would be disc operated front and rear, with older cars having drum brakes on the rear, and the brake pads should be changed at stated intervals, typically 50,000 miles for good quality pads. The braking system is hydraulically powered and the brake fluid level should be regularly checked, and topped up when necessary. As a driver, you should always be aware of the braking response, and anything that feels unusual should be investigated, as a brake failure could be catastrophic.

There are online tutorials for all the maintenance tasks, and with a decent tool kit and a little patience, you can keep your car healthy and safe.

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