Car Repair and Maintenance Guide: Essential Tips for Owners
Car repair and maintenance are topics with a passionate following and interest on the internet due to their essential role in providing means of transportation.
For many in remote areas of the UK, cars are the only source and way to commute; without them, they are stranded. It’s one of the most significant investments just behind a house, but with the increasing cost of living, maintenance costs are prompting reevaluation.
An average car costs about £12,000 to £17,000 and comes with additional running costs. Every month, £296 is the median spend on fuel, and adding up depreciation and insurance, the costs quickly rise. It is part of the rise in the inflation uptick, which has become a pervasive economic issue.
In light of the increasing challenges, the importance for owners to extend the life of their automobiles is becoming a priority and we are here to support you.
Here’s a unique guide for you, which includes a diverse range of tips and tricks to enhance your car’s performance and quality. Furthermore, you will receive answers to some burning questions in our Q&A Section.
15 Essential Tips For Car Repair and Maintenance For Owners
Tip1: Drive Carefully
One of the common reasons why a car seems to be failing or getting worn down before its expected lifespan is often linked to a driver’s extreme style of driving. Examples of such driving styles include accelerating harder than necessary or suddenly braking, causing jerkiness and disorienting experiences for passengers.
The effects of aggressive driving can be severe, with the brake systems and suspension becoming loose and lacking precision. As engine overheating can significantly decrease fuel efficiency, tire wear can result in misalignment and, inevitably, require replacement. Your car’s lifespan is dramatically reduced, so automotive experts strongly discourage such driving habits.
On the other end of the spectrum, driving too little can also have adverse effects. Your car’s lubrication may freeze, leading to mechanical failure due to the improper flow of lubricants. According to the RAC Foundation, cars remain parked more than 95% of the time and can affect your vehicle’s performance.
Balanced driving is the easiest way to ensure your vehicle does not need frequent maintenance and repair. It continues to pose a significant risk to drivers, with more than 4,851 dangerous driving offences in England and Wales in 2022/23. This rising trend necessitates increased public awareness.
Tip 2 Maintain Proper Lubrication
Lubrication is an essential aspect of the maintenance routine, as cars, for all their exceptional engineering and brilliant designs, are composed of many mechanical parts. All cars generate friction, heat, and vibrations, and oiling protects against these elements.
Despite being commonly known, many owners simply need to catch up with the lubrication schedule due to their busy lives, leading to breakdowns. We understand that it can be overwhelming to ensure proper lubrication and, therefore, have created a checklist.
Here are the five essential lubricants commonly used to maintain a car’s comfort and efficiency:
- Coolant: When driving in the blazing hot summer or freezing cold environment, comfort and drivability can only be ensured with coolant. It moderates temperatures and provides a comfortable interior for long trips.
- Transmission fluid: A gear change is a mechanical process that requires shifting manual components such as gear ratios. Ensure the transmission fluid is regularly topped up to keep the car’s performance consistent.
- Brake Fluid: The fluid extends the rotors’ life, and the brake pad reduces friction. Most car brake system failures before their usual lifespan are caused by car owners not maintaining consistent maintenance, and the brake system should be checked intermittently.
- Engine Oil: The engine is one of the most sophisticated components and is expensive to repair. Always change/add engine oil to ensure the crankshaft and the valve perform optimally. Ensure your oil filter is not clogged and conduct replacements to avoid contamination.
If you are having trouble with lubrication and constantly refilling, a leak may need to be checked immediately.
Tip 3: Timely Visits
One of the critical reasons car issues occur in the first place and often go unnoticed is the lack of a robust maintenance regimen. There can be a variety of reasons, many of them financial and others associated with a fast-paced lifestyle:
- Owners need more time to check their cars within their busy schedules.
- They avoid it because of the significant costs associated with maintenance and live paycheck to paycheck.
- They believe that if there is some major issue, only car repairs should be undertaken.
- There is mistrust of the garage, and they think they are overcharged.
A clear sense of avoidance is becoming more prominent with car owners and is not advisable. Problems in your machine can have a cascading effect and can cost owners in the long run. For example, a brake-related issue can escalate to affect the suspension, causing wear and tear on wheel alignment and tires.
If you postpone paying 25 pounds now, your repair cost can rise to 100 pounds. In the long run, a car owner tends to produce more and faces the inconvenience of an unavailable car.
Tip 4: Check Your Brake System
Out of all the car components, the brake systems tend to get worn down quickly and promptly require repair, maintenance, or replacement. The effects of ineffective brakes include shaking, squeaking, unusual noises, tight or loose brakes, poor fuel efficiency, and many other cascading issues.
It harms the safety of pedestrians and other cars on the street. Brake issues are mainly caused by three components to pay attention to: Brake Rotors, Pads, and the Handbrake. There are several ways to extend their life and optimise them to delay the hassle of repair and replacement.
1: Driving Habits: As mentioned, putting down the race pedal and braking aggressively is an easy way to wear out the brake system quickly.
2: Performance Kit: While the manufacturer’s brake systems are perfect for an average driver, one can continually improve performance by investing in more premium solutions.
3: Lubrication: Greasing the brake pads ensures that more protection is provided as the temperatures your rotor hits increase.
4: Cable Snapping: If your car is parked on a steep slope in the UK, the snapping of the Handbrake cable is a serious concern. Get it checked immediately, and always place a stopper on the back wheels to avoid your car rolling down the hill.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance for brake checks based on mileage, period, and other criteria.
Tip 5: Maintain Proper Wheel Alignment
- Is your car getting pulled in one direction?
- Are tires getting worn down on one side more than the other?
- Are there unusual noises coming from the tires?
- Is the tire feeling loose and unresponsive?
It’s likely that your car is out of alignment and needs to be configured according to the manufacturer’s requirements. There can be many reasons behind wheel issues, from suspension problems to general wearing and brake system issues.
Have your car alignment conducted by professionals to ensure the Toe, Camber, and Caster are all in balance.Today, automated systems work to aid the driver, and this process can be completed quickly.
Tip 6: Repair Paint Chipping And Breakage
On the surface, car paint issues should be addressed and given the importance and attention they deserve. However, there is a misconception that paint issues are simply aesthetic elements and have no significant impact on cars. In reality, paint is critical in providing the protection and care your car body deserves. It prevents outside contaminants and rusting from becoming an epidemic in the structural frame of the car, providing essential protection.
Many manufacturers struggle with car paint issues, and Mercedes-Benz, the luxury automaker, has conducted extensive recalls due to these problems. If you go through a significant fender bender or notice paint quality issues due to too much exposure to the sun, consider getting new layers of paint and wax.
We recommend contacting ASC to guide you through the process and provide options to enhance your car’s aesthetics and safety.
Tip 7: Check The Undercarriage
The car’s undercarriage is an essential area often receiving little attention from average owners. The reasons are often feigned ignorance, as they remain hidden and inaccessible, leading to issues remaining unnoticed until they become noticeable.
Here are some reasons why you should care deeply about this area:
- Essential elements like fuel lines go through the undercarriage area, and debris breaking the protective element can lead to leakage. These issues can severely affect fuel economy and lead to significant engine problems.
- Rusting in the undercarriage area can significantly affect the car’s structural integrity and lead to expensive body repairs.
- Components like suspension, ball joints, tire suspension, and other crucial elements are present in this area, which can be dislodged due to sudden impact.
- Undercarriage damage can harm the wheelbase and affect the car’s handling.
Take precautions and pay special attention to this space by conducting thorough checks every time you take the car to the garage.
Tip 8: Get Full Car Servicing
While we completely support and understand the wave of DIY (Do It Yourself) activism for car repair, the reality is a bit more complicated. The owner must be aware of all the car’s components and processes. Specific issues may persist in the background, or a component may be working during the check but may reach the end of its life soon.
There are fine points and interconnections between different areas of the car that only a trained expert can understand. So, how can an owner get the best service and deal? It is often a bundle of maintenance packages that provide comprehensive checks and balances to ensure your repair process goes smoothly.
Maintenance and replacement costs will take a considerable downturn, making repairs more effortless.
Tip 9: Maintain Battery And Electronics
Today, cars have become dependent on electronics and complex technology to ensure they meet safety and comfort requirements. Batteries in the car play a crucial role in starting up, operating instrumental clusters, and ensuring the computers are running.
An issue in the battery can leave your car with a breakdown, and here are specific steps one can take to address the problems:
- Clean your battery terminals.
- Secure the connections.
- Check the quality of the battery.
Beyond the battery, here are 4 common electrical issues that need your special attention:
Fuses: A blown fuse is a standard occurrence, meaning your car is well-equipped to deal with sudden electricity surges. Also, some underlying issues may need to be checked in your vehicle’s communication. When this type of failure occurs, the electronics in the car often go haywire or stop working. Replace your fuse and investigate the electrical wires and other components.
Spark plug: One of the most common complaints for most owners is dealing with the spark plugs getting worn or clogged. It directly affects your car’s performance with rough idling, low fuel efficiency, and difficulty starting. The good news is they are user-replaceable and can be quickly sorted.
Control module failure: Today, cars are bundled with a high-tech CPU to power all your navigational, driving, entertainment, and monitoring systems, which are also vulnerable to failure. Get in touch with your car manufacturer to aid in the process of arranging a replacement.
Wiring issues: Loose wiring can cause car fires, and it’s quietly becoming a big issue in the car space.It is vital to remain vigilant, and if you smell plastic burning or experience too many blown fuses, immediately head to a garage to get it checked for wiring.
The owner can quickly fix battery problems and become a self-starter expert in electronics. Follow the safety instructions and the manufacturer’s guidance to aid you in making minor electronic repairs.
Tip 10: Study Your Brand Car Issues
While the automotive industry has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, the fundamentals of car design have yet to evolve, mostly staying constant. Every manufacturer has had engineering problems and common issues that keep repeating despite customers complaining.
It has led to many car recalls, but only some issues are as widespread, and henceforth, consulting your car mechanic to guide you on preventive maintenance is crucial.
ASC has experts dedicated to brands like BMW, Audi, Ford, Honda, and many more. We take pride in guiding and consulting the car owner every step of the way, ensuring they remain ahead of the problem and detect them immediately.
Join various car owners’ groups to remain abreast of other car owners’ experiences and gain substantial exposure. Become an expert to ensure you save time, money, and effort.
Tip 11: Avoid Heavy Loads
Going on a long trip through the winding roads of the UK? Avoid overloading your car with various heavy fixtures like rails on the roof and back clams to load up on camping materials. While the temptations might be strong, the effects of these long trips can be severe for your car’s optimal performance, durability, and overall longevity.
Did You Know: In the UK, the issues of heavy car loads have risen to levels that may inadvertently break the law? One may require a special HGV licence with SUVs reaching nearly 3.5 tonnes with passengers and luggage loaded.
All components come under heavy stress from the brakes, engine, tires, and suspensions due to going beyond the recommended capacity. It can lead to increasing wear and tear and a potential breakdown.
Review the manufacturer’s guidelines and keep the load capacity below their recommendations.
Tip 12: Monitor Fuel Efficiency
Due to rising fuel costs, fuel efficiency is a significant concern for many owners. While conversations on how to drive for optimal efficiency are ordinary, key issues are often hidden. Many car owners can navigate UK streets without realising their fuel consumption is increasing behind the scenes.
The reasons can vary, from a lack of engine lubrication to brake pads contacting the rotor, suspensions putting additional pressure, or the car wheel having low pressures. Determining these factors may only be possible after a long time, leading to wasted fuel costs. The best way to approach these problems is through frequent assessments and monitoring the fuel gauge closely.
Tip 13: Carry a Repair Kit
Car issues can arise unexpectedly and be debilitating for the owner, especially without a nearby garage. Conducting your own checks and being aware of intelligent techniques to inspect your car is crucial. Henceforth, we always recommend carrying your repair kit and spare parts, such as a car light bulb, an additional ready-to-go wheel, etc.
Here are the necessary parts for your kit:
- Socket and ratchet set
- Pliers (regular and needle-nose)
- Screwdrivers (both flathead and Phillips)
- Adjustable wrench
- Tire pressure gauge
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Tow strap or rope
- Reflective triangles or road flares
- Jumper cables
- Duct tape
- Battery booster pack
- Jumper cables
- Spare fuses
- Electrical tape
Tip 14: Change Up the Filters
Have you noticed a severe foul odour or the fuel efficiency dropping? Certain clogging of components can affect the quality of the car’s performance and require an instant check. Filters are most vulnerable to having their quality reduced by dust debris and general wear, breaking down the filter’s fibres.
There are four types of filters that an owner needs to maintain:
- Oil Filter: We have emphasised the importance of lubrication, but it’s one-half of the process of reducing the contaminants within them. Cars conduct regular oil filtration and require replacement over a period to ensure optimum efficiency.
- Cabin Filter: The rise in pollution can be debilitating to the health of passengers in the car, leading to significant problems and further reducing the efficiency of the air conditioning unit.
- Air Filter: Improve your car’s performance and fuel efficiency and maintain proper functioning by replacing the air filters. Avoid the black smoke problem leading to incomplete combustion, poor exhaust smoke, and other issues.
- Fuel Filter: Contaminants and poor fuel quality control have become a significant issue for UK owners’ driving experience. Avoid fuel stations for a couple of hours after an oil truck pumps fuel and replaces the filters to ensure your car remains free of organic pollutants.
Filters are instrumental in maintaining your car’s performance and are user-replaceable. Maintain a check and say goodbye to painful car repairs.
Tip 15: MOT Preparedness
Every car owner has to approach the challenges of the MOT, and it can become a significant burden financially. That’s why there are discussions about changing the stringent requirements and making the test biennial rather than annualised. However, the silver lining of the tests is that it has raised the standard of safety, performance, and security for all vehicles on the road.
Take your MOT test seriously, evaluate its stringent requirements, and get checks done regularly. Full car servicing can be a great way to get your MOT preparedness done for free. Follow the test guidelines and request car repairs that meet the finest quality standards at the lowest costs with ASC.
We have now explored and established the essential car repair and maintenance tips. They ensure your car remains breakdown-free with no significant headaches and challenges. One question from the UK car owner is how much to depend on the DIY mindset? For us, it’s an ongoing conversation with many nuances based on the requirements.
Having a dead battery and needing it jumped to ensure that your car is rolling does not require the intervention of a mechanic if the owner has knowledge. However, a rotor replacement is not recommended, requiring precision and experience in handling sensitive components.
There has to be a balance to create interest, self-reliance, and knowledge for the owner. At certain junctures of car issues, a Certified Repair Garage with exceptional experience like ASC is in need. Get the expert advantage with an affordable and quick Free MOT bundled with our Free Car Servicing.
First-time visiting? Use the ASC10 code to get 10% off on all repairs and experience world-class service.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1) What Essential Maintenance Is Required For My Car?
Ans: Cleaning the car, lubricating, changing the spark plugs, driving gently, maintaining tire pressure, and taking note of the maintenance history are some of the minimum requirements for car repair. Expand your knowledge base and talk with your service repairman to learn how to maintain your car.
Q2) What Is The Most Essential Part Of Car Maintenance?
Ans: Lubrication and replacing the brake pads are the most crucial elements of car maintenance, as they are often more likely to fail and require replacement. Follow a schedule, and your car journey will remain breakdown-free.
Q3) How Do I Prioritise My Car Repairs?
Ans: Focus on the safety and performance components of the car, which should be given the maximum priority. While the aesthetic-oriented parts do not require an immediate check, they are generally placed at the bottom area.