Ultimate Guide to Car Maintenance

5 minutes Published: 08/04/2021

Maintaining a car is not the easiest job in the world. Over the course of your car’s life, you’ll spend weeks, if not months giving it some TLC.

Sometimes simple maintenance tasks slip through the cracks and you end up racking up huge bills for repairs or receiving big fat fails on your MOT. Nobody wants that!

Here at Lease Fetcher, we know just how important it is to keep your car squeaky clean and running smoothly. We want to help you keep on track with your car maintenance checklist so we’ve created this bumper guide!

If you have a particular area you’re struggling with, we’ve probably written a post on it - simply follow the link for the topic you’re interested in for a more in-depth guide.

We've also asked some experts for their top car maintenance tips and rounded up the best car maintenace apps that will help keep you on track!

Cleaning

Keeping on top of cleaning your car inside and out not only makes the driving experience nicer, but it can prevent damage to the car.

Knowing how to wash a car thoroughly and how often you should wash your car can save you big bucks in the long run, and make you appreciate your car more!

If you’re focusing on how to clean the car interior, here are some helpful guides to help you out:

  • How to clean car seats (general)
  • How to clean leather car seats
  • How to clean cloth car seats
  • How to clean vinyl car seats
  • How to clean car carpet
  • How to clean car mats
  • How to clean car headliner
  • How to clean interior plastic trim

Done with the inside? On to the outside:

  • How to use a car wash
  • How to wax a car and how often should you wax your car
  • How to clean car windows
  • How to clean car windscreen
  • How to clean car headlights
  • How to clean alloy wheels
  • How to clean off bird poop on a car!

Want to get right into the nitty and gritty hard-to-reach places? We’ve got some guides for cleaning some internal machine components: 

  • How to clean fuel injectors
  • How to clean a car engine

MOT

All cars need an MOT if they are older than 3 years or under 40 years. If you’ve just bought a brand new car outright or on a finance agreement, or your lease contract is less than 3 years, then you can skip over this (though it might be handy for future reference!).

The MOT (Ministry of Transport) test checks how road safe your car is to prevent harm to yourself and others. What is checked on an MOT? MOT testers run through an MOT checklist, scanning just about every inch inside and outside of your car.

Before you go to your test, you need to know what you need to take to an MOT. There are a couple of documents you’ll need on hand. You should also conduct a pre mot check, either yourself or with a professional, to ensure you don’t succumb to some of the most common MOT fails!

There are 3 categories of MOT fail. Some cars fail for minor issues that need repaired but not urgently. Some cars fail for truly dangerous issues which means you cannot drive your car away from the MOT testing centre - they need to be rectified immediately. If you’re caught driving without MOT, you face enormous fines and penalty points on your license.

If you’re wondering “how much does a MOT cost?”, it’s not too pricey! There are maximum prices set by the Government and you’ll only need to pay it annually, each time your car goes in for its MOT. The costs only rack up if you fail and have to pay for a retest and repairs.

The electric car MOT is a bit different since the internal workings of the car are completely different from diesel and petrol cars. If you’ve got an EV due for its MOT, check out our guide.

Servicing

Whether you’re servicing a lease car, a car you own outright or one you have on a different finance deal, there are loads of things you need to be clued up on.

Servicing is so important for keeping your car in good health. If you plan on reselling your car in the future or if you’re on a finance deal, it really is essential to have it done. Your resale prices will be far lower if you fail to service regularly, and you face hefty fines from your finance provider if you return a poorly serviced car.

Working out what a car service includes depends on the service type. There are three different types of car services and we’ve done in depth guides on them all:

  • What does a full service include
  • What does an interim service include
  • What does a major car service include

The car service cost will vary depending on the type, as well as how often you should service your car.

Estimating how long a car service takes also varies depending on which car service you’re in for.

Two of the service types are very similar so it can be hard to know which to go for - we’ve outlined the difference between interim and full service if you’re struggling.

Repairs

Getting repairs done is not fun for anyone. It can be stressful hearing about the extent of the required repairs and finding someone to do it - and that’s before you’re hit with a big bill.

If you’re leasing, we’ve written a guide to lease car repairs.

Costs and Packages

Splashing out on MOT tests, regular servicing, and repairs here and there can really send your car maintenance costs soaring sky high. 

If you’re leasing and don’t like the fuss of managing multiple payments to multiple companies, you can take out a car lease maintenance package. You can take this out with your leasing broker at the beginning of your contract and the coverage varies from provider to provider.

We’ve discussed whether a package for car lease maintenance is worth it. 

Since electric cars have fewer moving parts than traditional ICE cars, you could potentially save a few bob on the upkeep of the car. We’ve explored all the electric car maintenance costs you need to be aware of if you’re deliberating between electric and other fuel options.