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Car maintenance – the ultimate guide

4 minutes

Just like we do, our vehicles need some TLC from time to time. It’s important to look after your car and make sure it’s roadworthy so it can get you from A to B safely.

This article will help you navigate your car maintenance and give you an idea of what kind of car insurance is right for you.

Why is car maintenance important?

It’s important to keep an eye on the health of your car throughout the year. Pay particular attention to your vehicle at the change of seasons – road conditions may be slippery and uneven in winter, making them less safe to drive. 

Check the condition of your car before long journeys too, to make sure it’s safe and prepared for any obstacles. If your vehicle has been left standing for a while, it’s also worth giving it a good check over before you drive, in case its condition has deteriorated. Your car needs to be in peak condition to reduce the likelihood of a breakdown and tackle any road at any time. 

While some maintenance tasks can be done at home, it’s important to leave really tough jobs to experts with specialised equipment. Driving a damaged car can be illegal in severe cases – not to mention extremely dangerous – and you must have a valid MOT to be on the road.

Building your confidence

Car maintenance does not come easy to many drivers. Many seek reassurance when it comes to their car – Almost half of UK drivers are unsure when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

This guide should help you feel confident enough to tackle your car’s maintenance. But if you have major concerns, always seek the advice of a professional – your road safety is a priority.

What should be in a car maintenance checklist?

Regular car maintenance can help you avoid breakdowns. The most common causes of breakdowns include:

  • Faulty car battery 
  • Lost car keys
  • Damage to wheels or tyres
  • Engine oil
  • Faults in the alternator 

The easiest way to keep your car properly maintained is to understand the basics. A well-maintained vehicle is safer for you, your passengers, and your fellow road users. Make regular checks on the following components to be sure your car is in tip-top condition on the road.

Consult your owner’s manual

First things first, refresh yourself on your owner’s manual. It should detail most of the recommended maintenance areas and give you an idea of when to change oils and fluids, check belts, and replace tyres or filters.

Check your battery

A flat battery is a common reason for breakdowns, so be sure to check yours is raring to go. Look out for the electrolyte level and check this monthly – it should be within the limit on the outside of the battery. Check for damage or corrosion around the battery and connections.

Monitor engine coolant levels

Checking your coolant levels only takes a minute but will save you money and reduce stress in the future. Be sure that the correct water and anti-freeze ratio is upheld and listen to see if the cooling fan is in working order.

Maintain your tyres

Your car relies on working tyres, so it’s essential to make sure these are in good condition at least once a month. Check the tread depth of your tyres, the tyre pressure, as well as any visible damage. Oh, and check your spare while you’re at it!

Check your oil and air filter

Regularly check your car oil levels, using your engine’s dipstick, and air filter condition and replace when necessary. The speed of deterioration will depend on how much you use your car, so it’s worth keeping an eye on it. Fluids are essential to the running of your car, but incorrect fluids or leaks can damage the engine.


Test your lights

Check all vehicle lights are in working order, including headlights, indicators and brake lights. This is a legal requirement – all exterior lights must work in order to be safe on the road.

Clean windscreen wipers

Dodgy windscreen wipers are one of the most likely MOT fails, so check they’re working correctly. Make sure they’re clean and don’t leave smears over the windscreen that could affect your vision.

Other maintenance checks, including wheel alignment, servicing, bodywork or your MOT, should be carried out by a professional.

Bonus tip to keep you safe on the road

Make sure your car insurance is working for you and refresh yourself on the conditions of your policy.

Are you still under the maximum covered miles as stated in your policy? Could you benefit from more insurance coverage? It’s essential to have an insurance policy that keeps you as safe as possible and your car running smoothly.

If it's flexible, year-round cover you need, take control with Flow Annual car insurance and customise your policy at the touch of a button, 24/7. If you’re looking for rolling monthly cover without interest charges, admin or cancellation fees, see what Flow Monthly car insurance can offer you.

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