Car Checks at home

The most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of breakdown is to get your car serviced to the manufacturers schedule and specification, but you don’t have to be a car mechanic to keep up regular maintenance on your car at home to reduce the risk of a breakdown.  Feel safer when you’re out an about with the knowledge that you have familiarised yourself with your vehicle and have taken due care and attention to see to its needs.

First! Check the obvious...


Know the correct tyre pressures for your car. You can find the right pressure in your cars manual or on a sticker which is usually placed on the inside of the driver’s door, or on the inside of the fuel cap.


Check the tyre pressure at least every two weeks. Once a week if you travel long distances regularly. The air top up service is usually free, or available for just a small charge at most fuel stations. The wrong tyre pressure can seriously affect the fuel consumption of your car as well and the handling and control you have over your vehicle.

Keep an eye on the condition of your tyres! If you notice any cuts, lumps or bulges on the sidewalls of your tyres you should have them checked as soon as possible. If any, one tyre needs regular air top-ups you might find it has a slow puncture and should have it checked and repaired as soon as possible.  Find out more about tyre safety here

Example tyre wear images from Setyres

Irregular wear on tyres is also a concerning sign, as your wheel alignment might need adjusting.  All these factors, if noticed and corrected early, could save your car from potentially more serious damage and more expensive jobs down the line.  Find out more about tracking & wheel alignment here

Wipers and Windows

  1. Wiper blades wear down over time, if you notice they start to smear the windscreen during use, they may be worn. If you’ve noticed your wipers aren’t clearing the windscreen as well as they used to it’s a good idea to get them replaced. For best performance, wipers should be replaced once a year.
  2. Check and top up your screen wash regularly as it's a legal requirement that the system works and keeps your windscreen clean. Screen wash is incredibly important all year round. Using water alone will not cut through the oily road grime which can cover your car in the spray from heavy rain, but just as easily obliterate your vision in the glare of the sun.
  3. Check your windscreen regularly for chips or cracks. Many happen and remain unnoticed until chips grow and crack the glass. Many can be repaired by a windscreen specialist and many insurance policies allow windscreen replacement without affecting your policy. Major damage can impair vision or distract attention when driving, putting yourself and other drivers in potential danger.


It may be a pain, but you should check all your lights weekly. Try to check them as often as possible by simply checking your reflection when driving at night. If you notice a light is dimming or out completely, for safety’s sake have the bulb replaced. Bulbs can be purchased and replaced very cheaply and quickly. If it’s a fuse that has blown, your car manual will tell you which fuse controls what and where you can find them. Fuses are also very cheap to buy and easy to fit at home. A commonly missed light is the number plate light. Always remember to check your rear number plate light too, as it is illegal to drive without one and a fail when MOT tested.


Dealing promptly with any damage to the bodywork of your car will prevent rust setting in and more damage over time.  Any potential hazards could pose a threat to other road users or pedestrians and can result in an MOT test fail, so it’s vital to maintain any damage before it gets forgotten about, or begins to pose a threat to yourself and others. Many cars have extended bodywork warranty schemes (which may require annual inspection at the dealer) so any concerns can be professionally evaluated and corrected in good time.


Then! The not so obvious...

Engine oil

You should check your engine oil levels at least every fortnight and before any long journeys. Oil can be simply topped up at home and most kinds of oil are sold at fuel stations. Most new cars’ computers will indicate when they are due an oil filter change but remember this is an essential service, not to be undermined, so schedule according to your manufacturers specifications, which can be found in you cars handbook.  Remember to use oil of the correct specification. If you are concerned about your engine using a high level of oil, have it checked by your local Setyres branch as this may indicate engine problems.


You should check your cars coolant level regularly and top up as necessary. Remember only to add water/coolant when the engine is cold. Antifreeze should be added to prevent the build-up of corrosion within the cooling system as well as stopping the coolant freezing, so this is important all year round (not just during the winter months).  Anti freeze can be cheaply purchased from most fuel stations or Autocentres and is very easy to top up. If in doubt check your owner’s manual to be sure.


Car and tyre replacement tools puncture from Setyres

It’s essential for all drivers to know where the basic toolkit is for their car. Your car manual will tell you where the toolkit is located and what it should contain. Usually this consists of; at least a jack and wheel removal tools. Familiarise yourself with the jacking points used to lift the car safely, in case you should ever need to change your wheel, this could be at home or on the road. If locking wheel nuts are fitted make sure that the toolkit includes the key or removal tool. For more information on how to change a wheel click here.

Keeping your car in good general health and undertaking these simple checks at home can save money, time, and avoid unexpected inconvenience in the long run. 



If you have any queries regarding checks you can undertake yourself at home or if you are concerned with the findings of your at home car checks, find your nearest Setyres branch and our expert staff will help with any queries you might have.


Posted on: 04/07/2014

« Back to news