China Tyre Expert

Having passed your driving test you're a confident

by:Tanco Tire,Timax Tyre     2020-10-06

1) Checking your tyres

Having the correct tyre pressure is important for both safety and fuel economy. Road handling can be impacted by under-inflated tyres, which can decrease the precision of your vehicle's steering. Under-inflation can also increase breaking distance, affecting your ability to gauge necessary stopping distances accurately. In addition, under-inflated tyres can potentially increase fuel consumption by up to 6% . Forgetting to test your vehicle's tyre pressure can therefore become an expensive habit, as well as having a negative environmental impact.

The correct tyre pressure for your car will be recorded in your vehicle handbook. Remember that the correct tyre pressure may differ between the front and back tyres. You may also find that there are two sets of pressure results, one for normal driving and another for when your vehicle is heavily loaded.

Use a tyre pressure gauge to check your tyre inflation pressure, if you don't have one, you can use the gauge on the tyre inflation equipment available at most petrol stations. Always test tyre pressure when the vehicle is cold, as checking the pressure after a long journey when tyres are warm can provide inaccurate results. To ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated, test tyre pressure at least once a month and top up the inflation as needed.

2) Checking engine oil

As part of the show me/tell me section of your practical test you may have been asked to describe how to check engine oil level. An incorrect oil level can cause serious engine damage, so checking engine oil levels in your vehicle regularly between services will benefit the engine health of your car.

To check the level of engine oil, first run the engine until the car is at operating temperature, a short drive should achieve this. Make sure that your car is parked on an even surface (to ensure the accuracy of the reading) and switch off the engine. Never touch the hot engine, always allow a few minutes for the engine to cool off and for the oil level to settle before checking engine oil levels.

Wear protective gloves and remove the dipstick from the oil reservoir, wipe it clean with a cloth and replace it fully into the reservoir. Remove the dipstick again, this time checking for the oil level, the correct level should be somewhere between the minimum and maximum markers on the dipstick. When topping up engine oil, always use a funnel to avoid spilling excess oil on the engine. Remember to use the dipstick to double check that the engine oil level is correct after topping up. Be sure to wipe up any spilt oil with a clean cloth and replace the reservoir cap securely.

3) Testing your brakes

As a rule, brakes should be serviced by a professional every 10,000 miles, or at least once a year. As a vehicle owner, it's a good idea to perform a basic brake test at least once a week; at the start of a journey, press gently on the brake pedal to check for responsiveness. If the brake pedal lacks firmness or is less responsive than usual, you should cancel your journey and ensure your breaking system is checked by a professional before driving.

Keeping the brake fluid at the correct level will help to keep your vehicle's brakes working well. To test the level of brake fluid, open the bonnet and locate the brake fluid reservoir (if you are unsure of where to find this, the location should be detailed within the user manual for your vehicle). The brake fluid reservoir is a transparent tank with clearly marked 'minimum' and 'maximum' indicators, the level of brake fluid should be clearly visible from the outside of the reservoir. If the brake fluid is below the 'minimum' level, it should be carefully topped up so that it visibly lies just below the 'maximum' marker, be careful not to fill above this line.

Brake fluid is extremely toxic and will cause damage if spilled, so always wear gloves when topping up the reservoir. Keep the brake fluid away from your hands and face and be careful not to spill any on the ground or on the paintwork of your car.

4) Checking engine coolant

Engine coolant is a mixture of water and anti-freeze which is pumped around the engine of a vehicle to prevent overheating. The level of engine coolant should be checked every two weeks and always before a long journey. Low levels of coolant can cause overheating, resulting in serious damage to the engine.

Before touching anything beneath the bonnet of your vehicle always ensure the engine has had sufficient time to cool. If you open the coolant reservoir of a hot engine there is a high risk of scalding caused by hot fluid under pressure.

The coolant reservoir is a transparent tank with 'minimum' and 'maximum' levels marked on the exterior, so the level of coolant should be clearly visible. If the coolant falls below the 'minimum' level, place a cloth over the cap and unscrew it slowly, this will allow excess pressure to gently escape. Top up the reservoir with a mixture which is half water and half antifreeze, being careful not to overfill. The antifreeze in the coolant is poisonous, so if any spills onto your skin or the paintwork of your vehicle, wash it off immediately.

5) Keeping your car beautiful

The paintwork of your car is subject to the elements, enduring rain, snow, frost, harsh winds, sun, heat and air pollution throughout the year. Damage to paintwork can begin subtly, but once damp causes rust to set in there is no option other than professional repair, which can be costly.

When it comes to keeping the paintwork of your car healthy, prevention is always better and certainly much cheaper, than cure. To help prevent damage from the chemicals in air pollution, make sure you wash your car once a month or more regularly if necessary. Remember to clean parts of the exterior which aren't as visible as the rest of the car, for example around the wheel arches, to help prevent a build-up of chemical residue and dirt.

Waxing your car after washing it adds an additional layer between your paintwork and the elements. Just as you wouldn't go out on a hot summer's day without wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, the paintwork of your car will appreciate this extra barrier of protection against the elements.

Bird droppings are another culprit when it comes to damaged paintwork. While it isn't always possible to prevent birds leaving droppings on your car, being careful not to park beneath trees in summer is a good starting point. Always remove droppings from your paintwork as soon as possible. If the dropping has dried, cover it with a damp cloth for ten minutes and wipe away. Bird droppings can contain diseases and bacteria, so always dispose of the cloth afterwards and wash your hands.

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