Top tips to keep those repair bills at a minimum.
Don’t wait until something detrimental happens to your vehicle, the ideal way to prevent accidents, breakdowns and expensive repair bills is to carry out regular maintenance.
We cannot advise highly enough the importance of frequent checks to look for indicative signs of wear and tear. To help, we’ve accumulated a number of top tips and suggestions for looking after your tyres, exhausts and brakes. If you have any doubts, pop along and we’ll do a free assessment for you.
Tyres are your only contact with the road and they play an essential role in ensuring that your journey is a safe one. They have to bear the weight of the motor vehicle and they have to respond to increases and decreases in speed, and steering changes – as well as absorbing the shock of uneven roads.
Check and adjust tyre pressures frequently
The vehicle handbook will give the correct tyre pressures. Under-inflation can cause tread wear, overheating and increased fuel consumption, whilst over-inflation can damage the composition of the tyre. Check tyre pressure when your tyres are cold – never during a journey, or after. Always check the spare too. Worn tyres decrease the efficiency of steering, braking and acceleration, especially in the wet.
Check the tread depth - the minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm, however 3mm will give you safer, more efficient tyres.
Worn tyres are not only unsafe, they are unlawful – if caught you could face a fine of up to £2,500 plus 3 penalty points per tyre.
Check for punctures or slashes in the tyre caused by contact damage from objects in the road or nails, etc.
Check for sidewall damage such as bulges or splits, this sort of injury can result in unexpected tyre failure, so replace the tyre as soon as possible.
Have your tyres professionally checked if the vehicle has been involved in an emergency manoeuvre like sudden and/or heavy braking, as this can bring about serious wheel misalignment and imbalance. If your wheels are out of balance you may notice your steering wheel starts to judder above a certain speed. Imbalanced wheels result in early wearing of steering and suspension components, rotating parts and tyres.
How safe are your brakes
As brakes and braking performance are likely to depreciate progressively over time, most people don't spot a problem in their braking system until it is too late. The means by which we drive can affect how often our brakes need servicing. When new pads are fitted, it's essential to drive gently and carefully at first – for about 200 miles.
Excessive braking measures on new parts will possibly damage them and lead to a loss of braking efficiency and performance. A grating noise when you operate the brakes can mean your brake pads are excessively worn and need to be replaced along with the damaged brake discs/drums.
Pulling to the right or left is normally symptomatic of a sticking or seized hydraulic or mechanical component. Incessant “throbbing" feelings might signify a distorted brake disc or drum. A "squishy” feeling when pressing the brake pedal points to air in the hydraulic system due to a brake fluid leak. You may observe that your handbrake is pulling up higher than it normally does – in modern cars, more than 6 to 8 clicks.
For safety reasons, it's vital to have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible if you spot any of the above symptoms.