Car Maintenance Checklist for SA Vehicle Owners
As a car owner, you can save yourself plenty of money by doing minor repairs and maintenance on your car yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert but there are some repairs that are easy to do and don’t cost a lot. So here we have a car maintenance checklist for you.
At the same time, it’s important to understand how much you are capable of and not to take on tasks that are dangerous or too difficult to perform.
Air Filter – Car Maintenance Checklist
Replace your car’s air filter annually (or every 20 000km). The air filter is inside your car’s bonnet. Pay attention to how the old filter is fitted; it’s easy to remove it and replace it with a new filter.
Replace wiper blades after about six months of use. It’s dangerous to drive in wet weather with worn wiper blades and they’re cheap and easy to install so make sure you attend to them. Always ensure you have the correct wiper blades for your vehicle.
Spark Plugs – Car Maintenance Checklist
In general, replace spark plugs after about 50000km. You can find them inside your car’s bonnet (attached to thick rubber wires). You will find either four, six or eight spark plugs (one for each cylinder in your car). These are easy to remove and install. Remember to do this in order from the first to the last.
Oil and Oil Filter
Change oil every 5000 – 8000km. You can do this at home (although it is a very dirty job). Do not do this when the engine is hot. Always wait for it to cool. You will need to jack up the vehicle, drain the old oil and then replace the old filter with a new one inside the engine. Take your old oil to your local petrol station for recycling.
Battery – Car Maintenance Checklist
Your car will not run smoothly if your battery has a faulty connection. Cleaning your battery regularly can save you from having to replace it sooner than necessary. If there is any residue on the battery posts, your car will have difficulty starting. It is fairly simple to remove the cables from your battery(always remove the negative cable first) and clean the battery posts with a battery cleaning fluid (although some people say Coca-cola works well) and a wire brush. You then rinse and dry them and replace the battery terminals.
Your radiator generally needs flushing every year or two. It needs to be clean to work effectively and can build up deposits that prevent it operating properly. It’s a fairly simple procedure to drain used coolant from the radiator and replace it with new coolant. Do this on a cool engine. Also, dispose of old coolant needs safely as it can be fatal if ingested.
Brake Pads – Car Maintenance Checklist
Replace brake pads about every 30000kms (or more often if you do a lot of stop/start driving). The car needs to be jacked up and the tires removed to do this job. It’s also a more complicated task than some of the others so only consider doing this if you’re confident in your ability and comfort with the necessary steps.
Your fuel filter should be replaced annually. This is not a simple task and can be dangerous. It should probably be performed by a mechanic unless you are comfortable with it.
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