Booking your car in for service with a garage on a regular basis is an important way to ensure that your car is always running safely, smoothly and efficiently. However there are still some basic checks under the bonnet that you should make every month, or before a long journey, to give yourself piece of mind that your car is still in peak condition.
Under the bonnet there are five key areas to check and they are the engine oil, the engine coolant, brake fluid and windscreen washer bottle.
Checking the Engine Oil
With the car parked on a level surface, remove the dipstick, wipe it clean with a cloth, reinsert it fully and then take it out again. You will now be able to read the oil level off of the dipstick, this needs to be between the maximum and minimum level marks which are permanently etched on the dipstick. This is also a good opportunity to check the quality of the oil, ideally it should be a clear golden colour. If it is a thick dark black colour then it is time to get the oil changed.
If your oil level is too low, you will need to fill it with oil recommended in the owner’s handbook. It is very important that you buy only the oil type specified by the manufacturer, in the owners handbooks, otherwise it could damage the engine or invalidate the warranty. To fill the engine with oil remove the oil filler cap and add the oil in small quantities to prevent overfilling launch x431 pro.
Checking the Engine Coolant
You must wait until the engine has cooled down before checking the engine coolant level. This is because the cooling system is pressurised when hot, and removing the cap straight after the engine has been running will release scalding hot steam. The coolant levels can be checked by looking at the markings on the coolant reservoir, and making sure that they are above the minimum level mark.
Be wary of topping up the coolant level too much as this will dilute the anti freeze concentration, and will affect the engine in the winter. If the coolant level is persistently too low it could indicate a leak in the system and you should ask a garage to investigate, otherwise the engine could overheat and be permanently damaged.
Checking the Brake Fluid
The brake fluid is held in closed system reservoir and it is important to check that the level has not fallen below the minimum level mark, as it will dangerously affect braking performance. Because the fluid is held in a closed system any loss of fluid should be investigated for a possible leak. Brake fluid will also degrade with age, which will affect performance, and therefore it should always be changed at the stated service intervals.
Checking Windscreen Washer Fluid Level
Always ensure that your washer fluid level is adequately topped up as it will greatly assist your car wiper blades in keeping the screen clear. The concentration of washer fluid solution to water is normally strengthened in the winter to prevent it freezing up. Always use proper washer fluid solution, and not basic household washing up liquid, as this will not clean your windows effectively and can damage the car’s paintwork.
To many drivers lifting the bonnet and making a few basic checks can be quite daunting and confusing. However once you know what to look for the job will only take a few minutes and has the ability of giving you an early warning for any potential problems that may arise before the next official service. This is particularly important with modern cars as the time between service schedules is increasingly being extended launch x431 v.