When did driving become such a stress-fest? Recent surveys reflect that around eight million UK drivers avoid motorways because they lack the confidence to cope with the perceived difficult driving conditions. That’s an awful lot of wasted fuel going on pointless diversions simply to cut out the motorway route.
These days it seems we should be worried about everything from the CO2 emissions our gas-guzzlers create, to the danger of being deliberately pranged by insurance scammers. Whatever happened to simple driving from A to B? It used to be a non-event, but now when you get behind the steering wheel, with the roads as congested and lawless as they are, you’re lucky to get back home in one piece.
Okay, rant over. There’s really no point complaining about the frantic experience of UK roads and driving, the wise approach is to adapt and be vigilant. One of the best routes to alleviating stress is limiting your exposure to needless car problems. That’s why we’ve put together a simple list of easy car jobs that once done, give you added peace of mind when you set off on the road…
Your car’s innards are sticky, gunky affairs requiring lubricants and unctions to keep them running on max levels. Become familiar with the oil checking routine – dip the stick in to gauge the level in the reservoir and replenish as needed. Be sure to park on a flat surface when doing this to get an accurate reading. If oil is disappearing quickly this needs further investigation by a garage, but as a general rule be sure to check it once or twice a fortnight.
Other fluids that need your attention include brake fluid and coolant – you can get these at car stores. Again, a small amount of fluid loss is normal as the brake pads degrade, but if a sudden drop occurs this could indicate a leak or other problem that needs looking at by a mechanic.
Keep windscreen wiper fluid topped up to avoid the stress of poor visibility when following a dusty lorry or for protection from other airborne particles.
Correctly inflated tyres with at least 1.6mm of tread is what the law demands – if you are uncertain, check and confirm the correct pressure by referencing the sticker on the car’s door frame. Use an airline at a petrol station to add extra puff if needed. Tread depth can be checked with a 20 pence piece but if you feel under-confident about this, easier solutions are on hand. Companies like www.bktyres.co.uk send professional fitters around to your home or workplace to change your tyres over to fully compliant versions. With access to many different tyres for all makes and models, BK Tyres make the business of new boots on your car a smooth, simple and pain-free affair. Sound tempting? Certainly a lot less stress and bother than taking it into a garage and totally competitive on price, too.
Air filters should be changed around twice a year on average to keep your car’s engine running efficiently. Fuel economy and performance are all effected negatively by clogged up air filters, so changing it over is a smart way to avoid problems. It is an easy job that you don’t need tools for, so there’s no excuse not to have a go yourself. Air filters can be purchased online at a discount – avoid cheap substitutes, always go for marques relevant to your vehicle to avoid complications. Head online for video tutorials detailing how it’s done – for car maintenance knowledge, the internet is a giving and generous place.
Ignition issues and battery problems frequently stem from corroded connections. Check over the battery and all the cable connectors and posts – if you spot corrosion anywhere use a brush to gently remove any rust. Doing this keeps connections operating cleanly and the car should keep starting first time.
A staggering number of drivers don’t know where the spare tyre is kept in their car – some don’t even know where the battery is. Avoiding car trouble is all about taking an interest in and responsibility for your driving. Dig out the car’s handbook and read it cover to cover – you’re guaranteed to discover a host of useful and illuminating facts that could easily enhance your on-the-road experience. The manufacturer’s handbook should include a suggested maintenance schedule recommended to keep your car on good form. Reflect upon whether or not your car is getting the care and attention it needs…
Stress on the roads is a given, but you can lighten the load on your nerves by driving a vehicle that’s solid, reliable and well-maintained. Avoid the panic of the red-light on the dash by simply getting to grips with these easy, do-able car-fixes…