Regular car maintenance is essential when it comes to keeping your car in a decent working condition and not end up wanting to whack the living daylights of it, Basil Fawlty-style.
That said, some types of car repairs are pretty unavoidable after you hit a certain amount of miles in your car.
I’ve made a list of these, so you can get prepared. Here’s my top 10 most common car repairs.
1. Fitting new tyres
How quickly the tread on your tyres wears down depends on things like how much driving you do, how hard you brake and the quality of tyres that you have.
Fitting a new tyre is relatively easy and enlisting the help of your local garage will save you a lot of time, energy and effort.
2. Fixing the brakes
Brakes are another part of your car that commonly need repairing. They’re a pretty key part of your car, so it’s obviously worth repairing
Most cars use brake pads which sit against the rotor of the car, behind the wheel. Over time, these pads can wear down and will need to be replaced. In my blog, how to check your brake pads, I explore the ways that you can check what condition your brake pads are in.
3. Changing the oil or oil filter
Oil is an incredibly important part of your car. It lubricates moving parts, absorbs excess heat and keeps intricate components clean.
Over time, engine oil loses its ability to absorb heat as effectively as it once could and the oil filter – which protects the engine from dust, dirt and debris – can become blocked. That means that they both need to be replaced.
You can check at what intervals the oil and oil filter of your car needs to be replaced by checking out your car’s handbook or the relevant Haynes manual for your car’s model.
4. Replacing the battery
Replacing the battery of a car is probably one of the most common car repairs that you’re likely to have to carry out in the winter. All types of battery lose some of their charge over time, and car batteries are no different.
A number of factors mean that batteries have to work harder in colder temperatures, which can sometimes result in them not working altogether.
The chemical processes that allow a battery to store energy are hampered by colder weather, so that’s why we often find that a battery will not work after a cold snap where the car hasn’t been driven for a while.
Engine oil has the habit of getting thicker in colder temperatures which means that the engine has to work harder to turn over. This, in turn, increases the demand on the battery, using much more energy.
Replacing the battery is a really easy task. All you have to do is disconnect the battery from cold and replace it with a new one. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, any mechanic will be able to do it for you.
5. Aligning the wheels
Wheel alignment is another really important part of car maintenance that needs to be carried out every so often to keep your wheels safe.
It’s pretty much what it sounds like– the alignment of your wheels. Over time, the way your wheels are set up on your car can change through use. They can begin to lean inwards, known as ‘toed in’, or they can lean outwards, known as ‘toed out’.
So, why is poor wheel alignment bad? Well. Wheels that are incorrectly aligned will wear unevenly, increasing fuel consumption, reducing driving quality and increasing the risk of a blowout and punctures.
Your local garage will be able to align your wheels correctly.
6. Tuning up the engine
Engine tuning is a form of car maintenance that involves servicing an engine so that it meets the requirements of the manufacturer. It’s a way of making sure that your engine provides the most efficient performance possible.
You’ll need to get your engine periodically tuned, after you reach particular levels of mileage to make sure that it’s kept in good working condition. This can be carried out a garage.
7. Replacing windscreen wiper blades
Windscreen wiper blades are one of those common types of car maintenance that you’re bound to have to carry out at least once in your car’s lifetime. You’ll know when to replace your wiper blade because it won’t be able to clear your screen of water as effectively as it once could.
Replacing your windscreen wiper blades is a relatively easy task to do yourself, so you probably shouldn’t have to enlist the expensive services of a garage. Replacement wiper blades can be bought for under £10.
8. Adding antifreeze
Antifreeze stops the coolant in your engine from freezing, and prevents rust and sludge from forming in the engine. Over time, your antifreeze will lose its non-corrosive properties and that means it needs to be drained from the engine and replaced. A garage will be able to do this.
9. Replacing the air filter
The air filter is a pretty important part of your car.
Why, I hear you screaming?
Well, the internal combustion engine needs a clean supply of air which can be mixed with fuel and then ignited by spark plugs. The air filter ensures that the air supplied to the engine is free of dust particles and debris which can mess with the performance of the engine and the combustion process.
After a while, the air filter of your car can get blocked up with all these bits, so it’ll need to be replaced.
10. Regular maintenance and servicing
Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that if you want to keep something in a good condition, you have to look after it. For cars, that means maintaining them in a good condition by getting them regularly serviced.
A full service usually includes a visual check of the car’s key parts, an oil and filter change and a top up of all the various fluids that keep it working well.
If you’re leasing a car, you’ll be responsible for servicing it at particular intervals of distance or of time. For instance, some manufacturers recommend that you get your car serviced whenever you wrack up a certain amount of miles, whilst some recommend services after a set amount of months or years.