It’s not only about washing it: 7 things every driver should know about their car

June 11, 2019

It’s not only about washing it: 7 things every driver should know about car maintenance

Regular car maintenance helps to keep your four-wheeled buddy going strong. Washing one’s car is the first thing that pops into people’s minds when thinking about taking care of their vehicle, but what are the other things that all drivers (Bolt or not) should know about? Here are seven of them.

The Engine

Your car’s engine is its heart – for it to run smoothly for a long time, you need to take care of it. Don’t let it get to the point of unwanted roars and stops. In addition, to going to a car wash on a regular basis, pop the hood of the car once in a while and check what’s going on the inside.

You don’t need to be a wizard of a mechanic to spot a leak. If there’s a puddle under your car or you pick up an off smell, something’s up. Intense heat may have had a go in the engine. If they’re old and rubbery, they will eventually break. The same goes for all kinds of joints and seals. The occasional check-up will prevent you from having to spend a lot on costly repairs.

checking your car engine

Fluids

We’re not going to talk about petrol or diesel here. That’s a no-brainer – it’s either or, and you don’t mix the two. Moving on…

Car windscreen washer fluid is probably the most visible liquid you use on your car. That’s because you spray it onto your windshield from time to time. Some do it every day, and others a few times a week. Either way, you should make sure you’re using a good quality one that’ll keep your car’s paint job looking brand new.

But did you know that there are other fluids you should keep your eye on as well?

First of all, check your owner’s manual before rushing into anything. It’s like the bible of your car; follow it to take care of your four-wheeled friend properly.

Motor oil. You should check this when the car has cooled down properly. Give it an hour or so to avoid getting a false result. Use a proper dipstick (if you don’t know where it is, find the location from the manual) to check your engine oil. After cleaning it with a cloth or a paper towel, push it into the oil container as far as it goes. After pulling it out, you’ll see the level of oil in your car. Now open your car manual once again and see if you need to add extra to your car or not. Remember that regular oil changes are relatively cheap but if you put it off too long you may need to change the entire engine.

There are also things such as transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and coolant. Cars today are smart enough to let you know if anything’s up with them. If a light pops up, don’t ignore it. Book an appointment with a mechanic to get it fixed. Or if your hands can work magic on cars and you are confident enough, have a go at fixing it yourself. You can find more about car liquids and their maintenance here.

And if you didn’t know already, all Bolt drivers in South Africa get a discount in the following auto shops:

  • Car Service City – 10% off major service

If you’ve gotten this far, this may also interest you: This is how much you can earn as a Bolt driver in Johannesburg

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Tyres

Tyres are referred to as the shoes of a car for a reason. Nobody likes to run around with their toes sticking out, right?

For safe and smooth drives, check your tyres at least once a month. You can find the recommended level of inflation pressure on your car’s vehicle placard or in the owner’s manual.

If your tyres are worn out, you need to change them. There’s no way around that. If the tread depth is too low, you’re putting yourself and others in danger. Your brakes may be decent, but if there’s no grip, there’s no use for them. Especially in harsh weather conditions.

When you need to change them, don’t opt for unfamiliar tires because they come with “one time special and friendly price offers”. If you’re in doubt, open the vehicles manual to see what type and size of tyres you need and then buy them in a condition that ensures a safe drive for you and others.

If your tyres are worn out, you need to change them.

Brakes

Have you ever heard a screeching, high-pitched sound when applying the brakes on your car?  That’s a sign that you need to change your brake padsit’s not about “a bit of rust” anymore.

If you don’t hear or see anything unusual but the car doesn’t seem to be stopping properly when you hit the brakes, there may be a leakage in the braking system. If your car has been parked for a while, have a look under it. Do you see a small puddle or some fluid dripping out? If so, head to the mechanics straight away.

Washing your car

Just like you shower on a regular basis, you should let your vehicle see a sponge and some soap from time to time – especially as a Bolt driver, as you’ll have passengers opening your car doors and boot on a daily basis.

First impressions matter and if your car’s all muddy and dusty, it can (and most probably will) affect your rating. By the way, you can read more about the driver rating here: 10 hacks to keep your Bolt driver rating high (and 3 reasons why customers give 1-star ratings)

Also, when was the last time you dusted the inside of your car?

Have you read this?   This is how you get the maximum value out of the Bolt Driver app

Air conditioning (AC)

When your AC is broken, there are some things you can do yourself and other things you need a specialist for. As a general rule of them– you can try to detect the problem, but it would be wise to drive to an auto shop to get it properly fixed.

Start by checking the fans by turning on your car and the AC. If there’s an issue there, it may be due to some electrical error. And then it’s time to book a check-up at the repair shop.

The second thing you can do is check for leaks in the air conditioning system. There are special sprays and detection kits for that. Found a leak? Book a check-up at the repair shop.

It may also be the case that your AC is out of refrigerant. And no surprises here either – if the answer’s yes, it’s time to book a check-up at the repair shop. Especially when you don’t know what type of refrigerant goes into your vehicle.

Windscreen wipers

Perhaps one of the most overlooked things, windscreen wipers are something you need running smoothly. If the rubber is worn out or, even worse, the mechanism doesn’t work properly, you’re in trouble.

The easiest way to test them is to clean your windscreen on a regular basis. For example, you can do it every time you wash your car. If you see that the wipers miss a spot or don’t work at all (… hope that’s not the case ), do what’s necessary. Either buy new ones from a petrol station or an auto shop or go get it fixed asap.

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