Sunday, March 22, 2009

SImple DIY Jobs and MOT Checks

Less mechanically minded drivers can freeze up at the prospect of popping the bonnet, but having even a basic grasp of what lies beneath can save you shelling out for simple fixes.

Here’s our guide to some easy DIY jobs and pre-MoT checks.

• Check all fluids once a month, or before long journeys, and top up as required. Always make sure the car is parked on a level surface. Use the dipstick to check the oil level, and monitor coolant, windscreen-washer fluid and brake-fluid levels by checking them against the markers on the side of their respective reservoirs. Hydraulic power-steering systems and automatic gearboxes may also need periodic fluid checks. Dashboard warning lights often alert you when levels drop too low, but you shouldn’t wait until this happens.

• Check the condition and pressure of your tyres, from cold, at least once a month. Keep them inflated to the pressure recommended in the owner’s handbook to keep the car safe and save on fuel bills. Don’t forget to check the spare. Use a tread-depth gauge to make sure all tyres exceed the legal minimum depth of 1.6mm across 75% of the width of the tyre. It’s best to replace tyres when they reach 2mm.

To avoid wasting money on a failed MoT test, check the following items beforehand. Even if you’re not able to fix problems yourself, identifying them early can limit repair bills.

• Check the windscreen for chips and cracks.

• Check the horn, wipers and washers work properly.

• Make sure door mirrors aren’t broken.

• Check all the seatbelt buckles work.

• Ask a friend to help you check all exterior lights work correctly. Replace any blown bulbs and watch for broken lenses.

• Make sure the handbrake will hold the car on a hill.

1 comment:

d.osbourne said...

Thanks a lot for this. I've only recently started driving and will be taking my car for it's first service soon so this is really, really helpful.