Whether you are one of the UK’s many daily motorists or an occasional weekend driver, it’s important to possess basic car maintenance skills, especially when these skills can help keep you safe on the road. For women in the UK, there is still a significant lack of confidence when it comes to car maintenance: according to new research by LV=, nearly four in ten (37%) admitted that they don’t feel comfortable carrying out any maintenance tasks on a car. To help you feel more confident on the road and under a bonnet, here are five basic car maintenance tasks every woman should know.
Check and top-up fluid levels
Before checking your oil level, make sure that your engine is switched off and cold. Start by removing the dip stick and wiping it clean, before replacing it back into the tube. Pull the dip stick out again to look at the level of your oil. If it is below or close to the lower mark, be sure to top your oil up.
In addition to your oil levels, check your windscreen wash, your brake fluids and your engine coolant.
Check and maintain tyre pressure and tread depth
In February, the DVSA released new stats around the number of MOT fails in the UK, revealing that nearly 50% were avoidable if motorists carried out regular maintenance. Tyre condition was of the top five reasons for a failure. In their research, LV= found that only half (49%) of people in the UK would check that their tyres were not damaged before their MOT test.
For Caroline Lake, mechanic and author of ‘Women’s Car DIY’, this is a weekly issue that she sees at her garage. She agrees that this is a something all drivers should feel confident with.
‘Tyres are your only contact with the road and quite rightly, it is three points on your licence and a nasty fine for each illegal one. I’m not surprised that this is a common MOT failure,’ says Caroline.
Be sure to check your tyre pressure every two weeks and look carefully for any cuts and serious wear. The legal limit for minimum depth of tread in the UK is 1.6 millimetres.
If you don’t have a tyre tread measuring tool, use a 20p piece – slip it into the grove and, if any of the outer edge is visible, get the tyre changed.
Check bulbs, lights and indicators
Lighting and signalling was the number one reason for MOT failures according to the DVSA and, unfortunately, only half (48%) of women would check that all headlights and lights work before an MOT. Even less (42%) would check that their indicators function properly before the test.
To avoid being pulled over by the police for a brake light being out, ensure that you regularly check your car’s lights and indicators. This includes reverse, brake and fog lights which can become less effective if the bulb has blown or there is dirt on the lenses.
Keep windscreen clean and clear
As tempting as it is to have stickers and air fresheners in your car, they can be a major distraction and make your view less visible. This is the fifth most common reason for MOT failures so make sure that you can see what is in front of you at all times and that your windscreen is free of any chips.
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