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New Year Car Health MOT - News

As always, January is here and with it comes the mandatory health related New Year's Resolution many people regretfully commit to, following weeks of overindulgence over Christmas.

However, we feel that those who do not feel compelled to drag themselves to the gym should instead look towards their vehicle's health, and invest a little TLC that can go a long way in ensuring they reduce the risk of encountering unforeseen problems in the future.

It is important for most to understand that simple checks under the bonnet could help many understand the overall health of their car, enabling them to plan so that they're not caught out in the cold when issues do strike.

It is also worth noting that many of these checks are part of legal requirements all drivers must adhere to in keeping their car road safe and that they meet many insurance requirements.

All it needs is a little bit of regular maintenance and some basic car care knowledge to ensure that you're ahead of the game. Here at TrackDays.co.uk, we bring you our comprehensive New Year Car Health MOT:

  • The Tyres

They're the only part of your car that actually touches the road, so it's important to make sure they're in good shape.

First of all, check the tread depth – if it's less than 3mm then it's time to replace them. A good rule used by many is to grab a 20p coin and place it in the tread of a tyre.

If the outer band of the coin is obscured when inserted, then you're above the legal limit. Don't just check one point of your tyre though, ensure you check a minimum of 3 different spots on each tyre.

It's also a good idea to check your tyre pressure as well, which can be done at most local petrol stations that have an air machine. If you're unsure what level your tyres need to be at, there is normally a little sticker on the inside of the driver's door which advises you of the best pressures for different load scenarios.

  • Fluid Levels

Next up are your fluid levels. No, not whether you're fully fueled with a cup of tea, but checking that the car's engine oil, brake and windscreen washer fluid are all at the correct levels. All of these can be found under the car bonnet so you will need to open it to get started.

Let's begin with the car's engine oil. Ensure that your car is parked on level ground and locate the dipstick. It is normally easily identifiable as it has a small, coloured handle – yellow or green for most cars as well as an oil symbol on it. Once you have located the dipstick, grab a towel before pulling it out.

Give it a wipe and look at the tip of the stick where you're looking for two lines. The one nearest to the end shows that the oil is one quart low, and the next one along means it is full. Dip the stick back in then remove it again for an accurate visual image of the state of your car's engine oil level before deciding whether a top up is required.

If you're not familiar with how much oil your car uses then we recommend checking once a week for a month, and then every month after that so you can become familiar with how quickly it depletes.

Onto your brake fluid levels, which can be located by finding the brake fluid reservoir. Again, this can normally be identified by a brake symbol marker on the lid. On the reservoir tank, it will normally have 'low' and 'maximum' markers on the side which will help you check the levels. To fill it up, purchase brake fluid and just top it up to the required level.

Finally with the fluids, is the windscreen washer levels. You just need to find the cap with a symbol of a windscreen washer on and then all you need to do is pour the windscreen washer into the appropriate funnel. You can purchase the fluid at most petrol stations. If unsure which valve to open, we advise you to check the car's manual.

It is also a good idea to keep a bottle of de-icer and/or an ice scraper in your car, especially during the cold winter months.

  • Bulbs

Finally on our health check-up tick list are your bulbs. Have a partner or friend walk around the car, or do it yourself, as you test your various light settings and functions. To check your brake lights if you are on your own, reverse your car close to a wall/fence and use your mirrors to check whether the brake lights are reflecting off the surface.

To change your light bulbs, you'll first need to get your hands on the correct replacement bulb. Many popular automotive parts and accessories retailers offer a simple search system, which only requires you to type in your registration plate and it will provide you the bulbs you require.

Following this, you need to remove the cover for your lights, which can be accessed either by opening the bonnet or your boot. Ensure the car is not turned on before you then disconnect the bulb in question.

Insert the new bulb, ensuring the connections are secure and the beam pattern is correctly orientated – you don't want to risk dazzling oncoming drivers. Check the bulb is working before replacing the cover.

All of these simple checks can be done by yourself and could save you labour costs if you were to take your car to the garage. Now, that wasn't as painful as a trip to the gym, was it?

Visit our Car Track Days page on the TrackDays website today to book your car - once it's MOT ready of course - for an Own Car Track Day at one of our many dedicated Track Day Circuits nationwide.

New Year Car Health MOT
18 January 2023
Trackdays

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