When you own a car, you need to know a few basics: how to change the oil; how to replace the wipers; what all those dashboard lights mean. But that’s not enough. Every responsible car owner knows the importance of maintaining your car’s good health by giving it a quick once-over every couple of months.
Here are the three key things you should be checking on a regular basis:
How to check… your tyre pressure
Always check your tyre pressure when your tyres are cool – ideally first thing in the morning before you’ve started the engine. First, check your car’s manual to find out the optimum tyre pressure for your car. Remove the dust cap from your tyre, and affix a tyre gauge (which cost less than a tenner at most auto shops) to the wheel. If your tyre pressure is lower than it should be, pump them up using the free air facilities at your nearest petrol station.
How to check… your tread depth
Tread depth is often overlooked, but it is extremely important from a safety point of view, especially in the winter months. According to Europe-wide law, all tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm – you can measure this using a tread depth gauge (they cost a couple of pounds at most auto stores), but all tyres will feature a 1.6mm groove which acts as a guide to show you when you are starting to wear thin. When your tread depth is approaching 1.6mm, change your tyres asap.
When checking tyre tread, make sure your car is securely parked on a flat surface and the engine is off.
How to check… numberplate security
Numberplate theft is more common than you think, and it can cause all sorts of problems for the owner. Typically, numberplates are stolen for use in criminal activities – within a matter of hours you could inadvertently find yourself at the centre of a police investigation (which is an inconvenience to say the least). Reduce the risk of numberplate theft by making sure that your plates are tightly screwed on and applying a strong adhesive or extra security fasteners (which cost around £5) to the backs and edges of your plates. If you notice any evidence of numberplate tampering, contact the police. If your plates are missing report it and you can order a new set from here.