5 essential car maintenance checks

Do you take adequate care of your car? As a possession that you’re likely to rely on more than most, it’s only logical to carry out regular maintenance checks and make sure it stays in working order. 

Perhaps you have an upcoming road trip to prepare for – or maybe it’s time to book in your MOT. Alternatively, you could need to keep your car in good condition ahead of trading it in. But whether approaching a Kia dealer in Northern Ireland or a Ford specialist in Wales, the same vehicle checks will apply. 

Read five essential car maintenance checks you should carry out regularly below.   

Engine oil

Your engine oil level is vital for keeping your car running smoothly – and checking it is quick and easy. 

All you need to do is flip up your bonnet, push the dipstick into its tube and pull it out again to see where the oil sticks to. If it’s below your dipstick’s markings, it’s time to top up.  

Tyre pressure

Under or overinflated tyres can affect your car’s handling while burning through fuel faster too. Your owner’s manual will tell you the correct pressure – measured in PSI – for both your front and back tyres. 

You can then check your tyre pressure using a digital gauge and adjust it to the correct number at home or by visiting a petrol station. 


Your lights are just as important for helping other people see you as they are the other way around. You can easily check your lights are working properly by flicking yours on and off while stationary – though it will be easier if you have someone with you to walk around the car. 

It’s not just your headlights either – check your indicators, fog lights and brake lights too.  

Screen wash

Having a working screen wash system and windscreen wipers is actually a legal requirement and is crucial to passing an MOT. Check your screen wash levels regularly, especially in bad weather, and make sure it contains anti-freeze properties too. 

Your windscreen wipers meanwhile shouldn’t leave streaks or smears – if they do, you’ll need to replace them. 

Tyre tread depth 

Tread depth is another legal issue – in the UK, each tyre on a vehicle must have a minimum depth of 1.6mm. You could score a hefty fine if yours are found to fall below this limit, so it would be smart to invest in a tread depth gauge if you don’t have one already.

Alternatively, you could use the famous ‘20p test’ that involves placing a 20p coin in the tyre groove to see if the coin’s outer band is still visible. Read the RAC’s handy guide if you’re in doubt. 

Regular car maintenance is a good habit to get into if you want to prolong your vehicle’s lifespan and keep repair costs down. Put these five checks at the top of your list to do just that.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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