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.

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 noises and breakdowns. Additionally, to going to a car wash on a regular basis, pop your hood 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 your nose picks up an off smell, something’s up. Wear and tear will eventually have an effect on the hoses in the engine. If they’re old and rubbery, they will eventually break. The same goes for all kinds of joints and seals. An occasional check-up will prevent you from going to a mechanic workshop with a frown or, even worse, calling a towing van to the middle of nowhere.

checking your car engine

Fluids

We’re not going to talk about petrol here. That’s a no-brainer

Moving on…

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. You should have a proper dipstick 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. And it goes without saying – don’t pour some random liquid in there; if you don’t know which oil works for your car, consult someone from a mechanic workshop.

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.

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

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

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 something totally random that your neighbour is giving you a “special and friendly price”. Once again, if you don’t know, open the manual to see what type and size of tyres you actually 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? And not only once or twice? That’s a sign, 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 mechanic 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 from day to day.

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 mechanic who specializes in fixing air conditioners for. The easiest way to put it is – you can perhaps detect the problem, but it would be wise to drive to a mechanic’s workshop to get it 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 mechanic 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 mechanic shop. Especially when you don’t know what type of refrigerant goes into your vehicle.

It’s only reasonable to get these issues fixed at a proper mechanic workshop, as they may be out of scope for a hobby mechanic or a car enthusiast. Take care of your car by bringing it in for a check-up regularly and repairing when necessary.

Windscreen wipers

Perhaps one of the most overlooked things of them all, 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. You don’t want to find out that you needed to change them yesterday when you get stuck in a storm.

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 your mechanic’s workshop shop and go get it fixed asap.

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