Cars are an expensive but necessary commodity in our society. We rely on them to get us to and from work, to ferry us to our leisure activities and to transport us on long journeys. It is then in our best interests to look after our vehicles and to pre-empt any expensive repairs or accidents from happening.
Cars should be washed regularly. Wash the car with car washing detergent – start with the roof and wash and rinse in sections so that the soap doesn’t dry on the car. Dry with an old bath towel. To give your car an added shine, polish every so often – use the polish recommended by the car’s manufacturers or else any reputable car polish will do.
To eliminate rust, apply a thin layer of clear silicone rubber sealant along the tops of the body mouldings to keep water from getting behind them. Water trapped behind the mouldings is a common cause of rust.
Check brake fluid every 10 000 kilometres to see that there is sufficient fluid. If the fluid is below the mark on the brake fluid reservoir, check for a leak in the system.
A thin coating of petroleum jelly will help prevent battery-terminal corrosion.
To prevent excess wear on tyres, never turn the steering wheel while the car is standing still.
Always use the grade of petrol recommended by the manufacturer. If your car is built to use unleaded petrol, then use it.
Do not fill your fuel tank completely in hot weather. Heat increases the pressure in a tank so that fuel rises and overflows which is both wasteful and dangerous.
To attain best fuel consumption when starting a car from a standstill, reach the desired speed quickly and smoothly. Steady acceleration is the best technique.
If the temperature warning light comes on or the gauge nears the over-heat mark while you are in traffic, turn the heater and the fan on at high speed until you can stop safely or get to a garage.
If you have to jump start a car, make sure that both batteries are of the same voltage.
Taking precautions in wet and cold weather
If you have to leave your car outside in cold weather, position it so that the morning sun will hit the car’s bonnet (hood). The warmth may make the difference between starting and not starting.
Make sure the heater, windscreen demister and rear-window demister are all in working order.
Drain, flush and fill the cooling system with a mixture of antifreeze and the correct corrosion inhibitor for your car.
Replace any worn windscreen-wiper blades.
After driving though a deep puddle, test the brakes to make sure they hold. If they’re wet and don’t hold, drop your speed. Drive slowly and apply the brakes several times to revive stopping power. Doing this will usually generate enough heat to dry the brake linings.
For maximum visibility in fog, a combination of fog lights and low headlight beams works best. Next best are low beams – high beams cause a ‘white-out effect’ that can reduce vision drastically.
These simple tips can go a long way in saving time, money and expensive car repairs. They do not take long to do and can by done by anyone.
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