Note – It isn’t for everyone doing their car maintenance, but it is a great experience to learn a new skill or challenge yourself (Especially if you’re still in lockdown!).
If you get stuck on something, don’t be afraid to look up some Youtube videos! Plenty to learn.
Some of the essential things you can do are:
When you pull into a service station to fill up your car, do yourself a favor and get a high-quality fuel additive. (You could also buy from Repco or Supercheap)
These additives can help with multiple aspects of your engine’s life. These additives can offer cleaning properties for the injectors, which can help with fuel consumption.
The simple job of inspecting, cleaning, and replacing your air filter can also help engine life and fuel consumption by allowing the engine to breathe better and allow better airflow. Again, doing this regularly will prevent the dreaded google search ‘car removal near me.
A filter called a Pollen Filter or a Cabin Filter in your car. This filter stops contaminants from entering the cabin when the aircon is on, or air is coming into the house.
Replacing this filter can help make the aircon fan work better and allow no mold or dirt particles to enter the cabin.
At the same time as doing a cabin filter, you can also purchase Evaporator Core cleaning agents. This helps clean anything built up or growing on the core (Tucked up under your dash!) The evaporator core is common to build up with mold, so it is not harmful to do this every few years.
During everyday use (especially city cars), your vehicle’s engine will build up carbon deposits in various parts of your engine. These deposits can cause premature wear by contaminating your engine oil quicker and leaving solid bits of carbon in/around your engine. It is recommended to have an upper cylinder clean done every couple of services to help with this.
It is a foam spray that you spray into the intake while the engine is idling (Recommend to have someone help so you can hold the revs up a little). It will help soften those deposits and allow them to travel safely through the engine.
Regularly checking all your air and fluid levels for your vehicle can help with wear and longevity. For example, checking your tire pressures and maintaining them (every few weeks) can help
with how your tires wear and show any early signs of uneven wear (which means you might need a wheel alignment!) The other levels you should check (depending on the car) are Oil level, coolant level (WHEN COLD!), gearbox oil, Washer Fluid Level, power steering fluid, and brake fluid.
– Regularly checking your engine oil can help in many ways. For one, it is making sure you have enough oil! Without it, it can cause engine failure, which can get costly!
Checking your coolant level (In the radiator and overflow) helps make sure your engine does not overheat and helps with potentially catching any issues early.
– Checking your transmission oil is also a vital check. If your transmission level is low, it can cause slippage in the driveline and possibly cause damage to the internals.
– Topping up your washer bottle can sound silly but can be pretty important! Making sure it is full regularly can ensure you have a good level when you need to wash your windscreen at essential times!
– Power steering fluid is essential! Without it, you may not be able to steer your car, which is pretty crucial!
– Brake fluid level is beneficial to make sure it is complete. This fluid is recommended to be checked as if it is low, it can cause the brake pedal to be very soft and brakes not to perform as they should.
For those a little more daring and willing to have a go, there are some incredible things you can do yourself to save a bit of money.
The correct safety equipment (Jack stands, jack, gloves) can help tire wear and last a lot longer. For example, you can go along and rotate your tires (As long as you have the same width front and back). You are recommended to rotate tires every 5,000km.
Changing your engine oil and filter is a rest-assured way to save some money. Ensuring you have the correct lubricants and filters before you start (your local auto parts store can help with this) and ensuring you have the right tools will help a lot! I would suggest watching a few youtube videos on this before trying!
While doing the tire rotation and inspection, it is not a bad idea to spend some time with a torch to look around at the brakes and at the suspension to check for leaks, damage, and wear. Catching brake pads early and other components early can help save money on other parts failing or having to be replaced due to extra wear.
If you do go ahead and change your engine oil, you can do a few things to help with engine life. You can buy an additive to add to the oil before changing it.
You pour it into the oil and run it for about 5 minutes before switching it off and flushing it. This additive is another way to maintain and clean the engine’s internals.
When carrying out a service or at any other time, it won’t hurt to check around the engine bay and under the car for anything that looks out of place. Grab a torch and have a look around.
Check for oil leaks, check your rubber bushes and mounts (For cracking or wear), Check your drive belts, and for anything that looks out of place.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to have a go. Grab some mates to give you a hand, and never be scared to ask for help.