Even changing a tyre may cause a headache to many people…However, proper maintenance and making simple repairs to the car are of great importance, as the smooth, economically efficient, long lasting, reliable running and safe circulation of your vehicle depend on them.
Do not underestimate the fact that in this way you “communicate” better with your vehicle.
This is why, the driver has to know how to check and maintain at least some parts, even if he usually goes to a garage or the dealer for these jobs.
As the car you have bought or are going to buy may cost as much as repairs at the garage, please read on the following brief pieces of advice, so as to start your first ....contact with it.
Checks are divided into 3 categories.
Checks in the engine area
Checks in the steering area
Check round your car to see if there is any obstacle in front or behind preventing your car from moving.
Check if there are any leaks below the car, mainly in the engine area.
Check the condition of the tyres (air pressure and possible cuts on the sidewalls, bulges) and if you ascertain a big loss of pressure we go to nearest service station or to a vulcanizer to add pressure to the recommended level.
Check the reserve tyre to make sure it is in good condition and if it has the recommended pressure (3-4 psi more than the usual tyre pressure).
We check if we have in the boot the following items:
A first aid kit
A reflective triangle
A jack and socket spanner
Non-skid chains if it is winter and we go to snowy areas
A torch and handy tools
A fire-extinguisher ready to use
Check the lighting system and indicator lights:
Make sure that all the lights of the car are working - small lights, crossing lights (middle) and headlights.
If flashing is working.
If warning lights are working.
If brake lights are working.
If taillights are working.
If reverse lights are working.
If turn signal indicator lights are working.
We clean the plastic casing and the bulbs, replacing any broken plastics or burnt bulbs.
We check the operation of window wipers (condition of the rubber blades) and if necessary we replace them. We also check the condition of wiper washers, adjusting them if necessary so as to throw water in the correct place on the windshield.
Check the number plates of your car, making sure they are tightly fixed and clean.
IN THE ENGINE AREA
We check the cooling system and more specifically the water level in the radiator and the overflow tank needs refill.We check the ventilator belt, which should not be loose or worn out (mainly in the case of older cars) and make sure that there are no leaks near the water pump.
We check the lubrication system, the level of engine oil which should be between the max and min lines. We check also the oil indicator and look for possible leaks.
We check the battery – if it is an open type battery, the battery solution liquid level should be 1 cm above the lead plates –PB) and when necessary we refill it. We tighten the battery terminals and if necessary we unblock the ventilation holes in the caps; we clean the poles from any salts and grease them with vaseline.
We check the fluids of the hydraulic steering wheel, the clutch and the brakes.
We check the braking system and more specifically the level of the brake’s fluid. We do not replenish it with the brake fluid up to the mark max on the relevant part. An indication near min may mean that some part will have to be replaced or suggest the existence of leaks.
We check the window wiper system and replenish the water.
CHECKS IN THE STEERING AREA
We check the tolerance of the steering wheel which should not exceed 15 degrees angle or 2 fingers’ length of arch in the steering wheel.
We check if indicator lamps in the instrument panel are working.
We check if the horn is working.
We check if we have petrol in the tank, or the indicators in the panel say that there is a problem.
We check if pedals display the usual resistance. When we depress the clutch pedal, it should go all the way down, while the brake pedal should stop about half-way and remain firm in this position. The brakes should be checked with the engine running. It goes without saying that if the brake pedal goes all the way down, giving us a spongy sensation, we must immobilize our car.
We adjust the driving position and the head restraint.
We adjust the mirrors.
We make sure that the doors are closed.
We fasten our seat belts and make sure that our passengers wear their seat belts.
Before starting we check if a red indecator lamp is on. If it is on then we do not start.
To start: We check… we indicate that we are going to start…we check again by turning our head... and we set out only when the road is clear.