As the year draws to a close, our calendars become more and more packed. There are parties to attend, relatives to visit and presents to buy. The year-end is also crunch time at work for many people.
Because of all these, many of us end up neglecting our cars. With so many things to do, it’s no surprise that car maintenance is the last thing on most drivers’ minds.
Just as you would make time for the people who matter most, you should also make time to give your car some TLC. Because before you know it, January will arrive, and the Lunar New Year will be looming on the horizon.
With that in mind, here are five things you should attend to before 2020 ends.
TIME FOR NEW ENGINE OIL
Putting off your regular service appointment is a bad idea. It does not matter even if fully synthetic engine oil can go an extra 2000 or 3000km past the change date.
An oil change and oil filter change are basic and essential parts of car maintenance. Engine oil not only lubricates and protects components. It also acts as a detergent to capture harmful contaminants such as dirt, so that they can be trapped in the filter.
An oil change takes less than an hour, and most authorised agents even have an “express” service for this. That hour or two spent will help ensure worry-free motoring for the next six months.
CAR MAINTENANCE: REPLACE THOSE WIPER BLADES
Which part of the car wears out the quickest?
Most drivers would say “tyres” or “brakes”. Actually, the wiper blades usually wear out the fastest.
Wiper blades lead a hard life. When it is not raining, they rest against a hot windscreen the entire day. It is no surprise that they must be replaced annually.
Replacing your wiper blades is part of basic car maintenance, and it does not take long to do. Remember, the wet weather brought about by La Nina is expected to last till March 2021!
A NEW SET OF TYRES
Oil changes aside, tyre replacement is something that many drivers also tend to overlook – until it’s time to send the car for inspection. Even then, many still forget to check these crucial components for wear.
Not all tyres are created equal (that’s another story for another day). But all worn tyres are dangerous – it does not matter what kind of tyres you have.
As part of good car maintenance, check your tyres and see if they have reached the wear marker. Or measure the tread depth if you have a gauge. If you see 1.6mm or less, it is time for a new set.
Damaged, bald or unevenly worn tyres should also be replaced. Remember, tyres are the only things constantly in contact with the road. Neglecting them puts yourself, your passengers and other road users in danger.
GET CHARGED UP
Car maintenance involves several regular checks, but your battery’s voltage is something that you probably can’t measure since most cars do not have volt meters.
Now, if your car takes longer to start or sounds sluggish as you start it, your battery may be weak. Before you end up stranded, head to your workshop and get your battery replaced.
Don’t put this off for too long, lest you return to your vehicle and find that you cannot even unlock the doors. At the same time, you can also consider replacing the battery in your key fob.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
Your headlights, daytime running lights and indicators work well. What about your tail-lights and brake lights?
The best way to check of course, is to get a friend or family member to stand at the rear when you switch on the lights, depress the brake pedal and activate the indicators.
If you are alone, you can try reversing into a space with glass windows behind it and use your rear view mirror to check. That will work, too.
You can tell if your indicators are about to go if they blink more rapidly than usual when activated. When this happens, head to a workshop to get them replaced.