Even if you think a car bonnet is a sealed unit, there is plenty you can do to make sure your car remains, safe, legal and reliable. All you have to do is get into some sort of routine. Put aside 15 minutes on the weekend just to carry out these simple checks. It means you will be able to quickly spot any issues, so that you can trace a car fault and mostly importantly get it fixed.
1) Check Your Oil Weekly or Every 500 Miles
Ensure you check your oil weekly or every 500 miles by pulling out the dip stick, which usually has a yellow handle. The oil marking must be between the upper and lower markings on the stick. If it is too low, add a little at a time and keep rechecking every few minutes to see the level. If you are experiencing large oil loss then you might have an issue with your engine.
2) Engine Coolant Check
Firstly, never check the water level when the engine is hot. If the engine is warm, use a cloth to remove the radiator/coolant cap. Most cars today have a separate overflow/expansion tank. Make sure that the water is visible and reaches the 'full' line of the coolant reservoir.
3) Don't Forget Your Windscreen Wipers
If these are faulty, your car is unroadworthy and possibly illegal. You are recommened to replace your wiper blades every 12 months to ensure you always have maximum visibility. If the rubber on your blades are perished or frayed, or they are leaving streaks on the windscreen then you should replace them. If you can see they need cleaning, it's best to use screen wash for this.
4) Tyre Pressure Check
It's important to check your owners manual for the correct tyre pressure based on the needs of your car. Before checking the pressure, it is important that the tyres are cool. In order to identify the pressure, use a tyre pressure gauge but be careful if using the forecourt ones as they could be inaccurate. Don't worry if you overfill the pressure, you can release air by pressing losely against the valve. Ensure you're looking closely for tears, cuts and bulges as well as stones trapped in the tread. Is the tread illegal? It must be at least 1.6mm deep across the central three-quarters of the tyre tread width and around the outer circumference. Always check the spare from time to time. You can get a gauge from Amazon which will also give you tread depth reading.
5) Headlight Bulb Weekly Check
Having your car lights work properly is extremely important, especially when the mornings and nights are growing darker. You can test your lights in the reflection of other cars, but it's much easier to ask someone else to check whilst you're in the vehicle. It's best to carry spare bulbs so that you don't pospone changing the broken ones.
6) Clean Your Car Weekly
The more times you clean your car the better! A clean car makes it easier to see the body and other important car parts up close, which means problems can be spotted much sooner. You're able to sort any leaks and damages much sooner, preventing a larger issue occuring.
7) Car Problems? Make Notes Daily
Pay attention to what your car is doing. Does it make odd noises? Does it pull to the left? Are the brakes suddenly spongy? See an expert before these minor problems become major issues.