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5 Basic Checks Before You Hit The Open Road

Basic Checks Before You Hit The Open Road

As the Easter long weekend is now only a hop, skip, and a jump away, you may be considering using this opportunity to get back on the open road, to visit some of the favourite places you have been missing or to explore some of the exciting places you have so far only read about!

With the various lockdowns that have been endured and the increase in the numbers of people working from home, it may be that your car has played a smaller part in your life recently than it used to. And yet, we expect them to be ready to go when we are!

By performing checks on your car regularly, you increase your chances of catching any potential problems before they become an expensive repair.

Here are 5 Basic Checks You Can Do Before You Hit The Open Road…

Regular checks and maintenance are all it takes to avoid potential car reliability problems.

These simple tips can help you keep your car in shape and ready for your adventure!

Oil_Level_check

1. Oil Level

Oil is the lifeblood of your engine, keeping the internals lubricated and functioning as intended. To get an accurate reading of your oil level, follow these steps:

  • Park the car on level ground.
  • Oil can be checked when the engine is hot or cold. Check the owner’s manual if you are unsure.  If you have had the vehicle running, turn the engine off and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle.
  • Remove the oil dipstick and wipe clean.
  • Reinsert the dipstick all the way and then remove once more to check the level on the dipstick. Should you need to top up the oil, ensure you are using the recommended viscosity for your engine and top up in small amounts. Allow time for the oil to reach the sump and repeat the process to check the oil level. It is important not to overfill the oil.
  • Remember to push the dipstick fully in when you have finished your checks.
  • If you are regularly filling your car with oil, this could be a sign of a bigger problem and you should consult a qualified mechanic.

Water_coolant_check

2. Water/Coolant Level

‘Do not remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot. Always let the engine cool for a few hours to avoid injury.’

Checking your water/coolant level is easy and should be performed on a weekly basis.

Your car should be on a level surface and allowed to cool. Most cars carry a reservoir (as seen in the picture above) with MIN and MAX markings on the exterior allowing you to observe the current level. A quick check of the radiator coolant is as easy as looking at the level in the plastic overflow bottle of most cars. The coolant level should be in between the high and low markings. Should you need to top up the level, a 50/50 mix of coolant and demineralised (or distilled) water is recommended. Refer to your owner’s manual to ensure you are using a coolant that is suitable for your vehicle. Make sure to only top up to the MAX marker. Do not fill all the way. Tyre_presure_and_condition

3. Tyre Pressure and Condition

Your tyres are the only contact your car has to the road. If you are about to embark on that road trip, it is great timing to check and see if you need a new set of tyres. A few quick checks prior to driving are a must to keeping you and your family safe.

  • Tyre pressures if incorrect can reduce the life of your tyres, may make your car less safe and is often uncomfortable to drive. The correct tyre pressures specifically for your car are located on the tyre placard. This can be found on the driver’s side front door. Failing this, refer to your owner’s manual.

Tyre_pressure_check

  • Check to see if your tyres have enough tread. Tyres should have a minimum of 1.5 mm of tread across the entire tread surface. Tyres have wear indicators located between the grooves in the tread (as seen in the image above). When the tread is worn to the indicators, it is time for a new tyre.
  • Check your tyres for:
    • Uneven or abnormal wear.
    • Damage such as cracks or bulges. This could indicate a suspension or steering problem.
  • Regularly rotating your tyres (swapping the front tyres for the rear) helps even out the wear and extend tyre life. It would be a good idea to have this done before a big trip.

Don’t forget to perform the same checks for your spare tyre. Just because it is out of sight, it should not be out of mind.

 windscreen_washer_Check

4. Windscreen Washer and Wiper Function

Washer fluid:

Fill your washer bottle with clean water and a small amount of windscreen-washer additive if you wish. Avoid using kitchen and laundry detergents as they may damage your paintwork and wiper blades.

Windscreen wipers:

Clear visibility out of your windscreen is fundamental to safe driving. If your wipers are torn, noisy or do not clean your windscreen, visibility could be compromised, so a simple check prior to leaving on your road trip is a must.

Operating the wipers on a dry windscreen could scratch and damage the windscreen. This could affect visibility. Make sure fluid is introduced to the windscreen before operating the wipers.

taillight-indicator-check

5. Checking Headlights, Taillights and Indicators

Having working lights can often be overlooked.

Get help from a friend or a family member and test your indicators and headlights, including the high beams.

If you cannot get a friend or family member to help, use a glass window or check against a wall to test the reverse lights, taillights and brake lights.

 Checking_headlights_check

Finally, don’t forget to top up your fuel before you set off. It may sound like an obvious one, but many people don’t fill up before they leave and find themselves getting stuck in traffic or in unfamiliar surrounds only to realise they’re low on fuel. Avoid the inconvenience and fill up the car prior to leaving.

You are all set! Stay safe and enjoy yourselves! And don’t forget, Jim’s Mobile Mechanics are here to assist with any servicing, maintenance or repairs you may need. And we come to you!

Click here to read more: Jim’s Mobile Mechanics Services

Get Your Car Serviced Before Going On A Road Trip

car service sydney

Wanderlust comes to all of us at some point in time. The excitement of getting on the road and heading for new and exciting places is unrivaled. Maybe you have been stuck indoors for too long or the weather is too good to ignore. There are so many nice places to see, good roads to drive, and new places to explore. When you feel like that, it is time for a road trip.

All your planning will rest on you getting one thing right, that is making sure your car can make the whole trip without breaking down. At Jim’s Mobile Mechanics we can come to you and make sure that your car is in tip-top shape for the trip. Below are some of the checks and basic maintenance that we will perform on your car.

1. General checks

Tires are very important for safety, fuel efficiency, and comfort, our check will include a thorough review of their performance. The air pressure of your tires will be checked and if the tires need to be rotated, this will be done. Brake pads need to be checked as they provide the friction that a car needs for it to stop. Belts and hoses are part of the general check as well. We will check that the belts are tight and that the hoses do not have any leaks.
Being on the open road, your car will be exposed to dust, the air filters in your car will be checked to make sure that they can make the trip. If necessary, they will be replaced.

2.Fluid check

Fluids are necessary to keep any car running. You can call them the lifeblood of a car. A car has six essential fluids and at Jim’s Mobile Mechanics we will check all of them to make sure that they are topped up or replaced if needs be. Engine oil is the first fluid that will be checked. It is responsible for the lubrication of parts like the crankshaft, pistons, and camshaft. Radiator coolant helps keep your engine at optimum temperature; it will be checked to make sure that your car will not overheat during your journey.

Brake fluid and power steering fluid will need to be checked to make sure that your Car Brakes will not fail you and that you have a smooth ride. If power steering is contaminated, your steering will be less responsive. Finally, transmission fluid and windshield fluid will be checked. Transmission fluid helps the gears to shift smoothly and windshield fluid will be necessary to make sure that your windscreen is kept clean.

All this and more will be done to your car when we come to service it before you go on your adventure. So, what are you waiting for? Book an appointment with one of our mechanics by calling 131 546 today!