Windscreen repair knowledge & advice
Car care: Simple under-the-bonnet checks you should be carrying out news item

Car care: Simple under-the-bonnet checks you should be carrying out

Diving under the bonnet now and then can keep your car running smoothly and prevent troublesome breakdowns. A quick five-minute check every few weeks can also help avoid drawn-out, wallet-denting repair jobs such as engine overhauls, battery replacements or complete glass repair. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to check on the mechanics and fluids powering your four wheels, so get these six car-saving checks on the go monthly at the least:

1. Examine the engine oil

Cars low on oil are prone to breakdowns or disastrous damage to your engine, so this is probably the most crucial fluid to check out. Make sure your oil level sits between the minimum and maximum mark on the car’s dipstick (usually a yellow plastic handle with a ring). Always keep it topped up to avoid killing your engine - heat and friction are its two greatest enemies - and check your owner’s manual to see what type of oil is needed, and how much.

2. Sort out your screen wash

If your screen wash levels aren’t topped up you’ll end up with mucky windscreens that prevent your vision on the road. There’s lots of salt on the roads in winter, so it’s even more vital to keep your windscreen clean to avoid glass repairs - your front window is a vital part of your car’s infrastructure. If you do notice any chips that screen wash isn’t getting rid of, don’t be tempted by windscreen chip repair kit offers. Always ask a glass repair professional to fill it in - Optic Kleer can often carry out glass repairs for free, depending on your insurer.

3. Check your coolant levels

Cars get hot - and no one has time for them to overheat. Make sure your engine is cold and switched off before you take a look, then make sure the levels are above the minimum and below the maximum (to avoid freezing your engine). If levels are low, consult your manufacturer’s handbook for the right mix levels and to source the right coolant.

4. Be vigilant with brake fluid

This safety check is a critical one. Brake fluid works so well due to its high boiling point, meaning it still works alongside the hot temperatures braking generates. One problem: it absorbs moisture. This means that when the brake fluid boils and turns to vapour, your brake pedal can slam straight to the ground, without the life-saving stop action. Don’t ignore checking this essential lubricant - make sure it’s between the minimum and maximum levels.

5. Avoid clogged air filters

Keep pesky dust and debris out of your engine by regularly inspecting your air filter. It’s usually close to the side or top of your engine but may be at the front of the engine bay in some cars - consulting your owner’s handbook will show you the location. In most cases, it probably just needs a little clean, but it might need replacing completely. Either way, this check is a must to keep your engine in tip-top condition. Air filters are relatively inexpensive, so this is something worth doing regularly.

Knowing basic maintenance tips can not only help prevent breakdowns, windscreen repairs and more - it can help you to stay safe on the roads and keep the costs of driving down. Many of the issues caused by wear and tear on your car can be sorted yourself (see our guide on how to fix common repair faults). But for more technical aspects such as batteries that won’t jump-start or a glass chip repair job - it’s best to seek qualified professionals.

Find your nearest

windscreen repair location

Searching ... please wait