Monthly checks on your car

Published on 25 January 2014

Renewing your car insurance in Ireland, your car tax, your National Car Tax (NCT) and getting an annual service, are all a must for vehicle owners, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your car for the rest of the year. By performing monthly checks on your vehicle you will be optimising your fuel efficiency and keeping the manufacturer’s warranty valid.

If you don’t feel comfortable carrying out the checks yourself, then have a qualified mechanic do them for you.

First things first, find your car’s manual. Most sellers leave it in the glove compartment of the car. The manual will tell you what needs to be checked in your car.

Secondly, schedule a day each month into your diary for making the checks. Make your manual checks part of your routine, and write out a checklist of what you need to do.

Some of the most common monthly checks include the following:

Each tyre, including the spare, should be checked each month. Check the state of your tyres regularly, and ensure that the pressure is at the correct level as specified by the manufacturer. Most modern cars have a tyre pressure monitoring system, which lights up when there is low tyre pressure. It is important that car owners do not rely on this technology alone as all tyres should also be checked manually.

Wiper Blades
Check your wiper blades regularly to ensure they are clean and not in need of changing. Wiper blades should be replaced at least once a year.

Check all lights, both interior and exterior, every month. Check if exterior lights are clean, if they are aligned and if all bulbs are working.

Fluid levels
Take time each month to check your fluid levels, filling them up before they run dry can certainly improve the performance of your car. Oil and windshield washer fluid levels should be checked at least once a month. Turn off the engine and let it cool down for at least 15 minutes before you check under the bonnet. Power steering fluid and coolant can be checked every six months or so, but it won’t do any harm to include them on your monthly checklist.

Check for leaks in and around your car. Bend down and look under the car. The colour of any leaks should indicate what’s wrong. Oil is usually black in colour, while brake and power steering fluids are mostly clear with a brown tinge. Coolant can be yellowish green, and your wiper fluid blue, pink or clear if you’ve used water.