3 things you shouldn’t ignore in your car
Most of us who drive probably think we’re fairly responsible when it comes to day-to-day car maintenance, and that if we spotted something odd or unusual about our vehicles, we would take a closer look at it – and have it professionally checked out if necessary.
Whether that’s quite the case, is another matter. After all, according to a recent article in the Express, almost 10,000 drivers in the UK were issued with penalties last year due to simple car faults that, in many cases, could have probably been detected and resolved earlier.
You, of course, may think you’re “different”, so let’s put that to the test. Below are three just things – not necessarily active problems – that a lot of motorists are guilty of ignoring, when they ought to be a bit more diligent. How have you responded to these things in the past?
The oil level
Keeping an eye on your vehicle’s oil level is both important and quite easy to do.
To check the oil in your vehicle, wait for the engine to cool, and ensure the car is parked on level ground, so that you can be sure the reading is accurate. Then, find the dipstick – it will be close to the engine, and typically has an easy-to-spot yellow or orange handle. Refer to your car’s handbook if you’re unsure.
Once you’ve found the dipstick, take it out – being careful to avoid oil dripping – and wipe it with a piece of kitchen roll. Then, fully put the dipstick back in, and remove it again. The dipstick will now be freshly recoated with oil, which will stop somewhere between the minimum and maximum marks.
If the oil level is on or around the maximum mark, you have nothing further to worry about. But if it’s below that, it’s time to top up the oil. As Castrol explains, this is a straightforward enough process – the important thing is that you do it.
Any strange noises
Cringeworthy jokes aside about annoying noises in your car being your spouse or perhaps a song coming on the radio by an artist you hate, it’s crucial to take unexpected noises in your vehicle seriously. That’s all the more the case if you don’t exactly have a mechanic’s level of knowledge, and therefore have no idea what a particular noise could mean.
We can’t, of course, lay down any hard-and-fast rules in this blog post about what a particular noise in your car definitely is, or definitely isn’t. The general rule of thumb is that you should probably get it checked out by a professional who can consider all factors.
Nonetheless, it’s true that certain car noises are often associated with particular problems. Whirring is often attributable to a worn-out belt, for example, while a ticking noise from the engine could be a signal of low oil levels.
As for if you hear a squealing noise under braking, you should get this checked out immediately, as we’re sure you won’t need us to tell you how dangerous a problem with your car’s brakes can be.
Dashboard warning lights
Such are the wonders of today’s technology-packed cars that we have the benefit of all manner of warning lights potentially flashing up on the dashboard at any given time, to alert us to problems.
However, these lights aren’t quite as useful if we don’t even know what they mean, which is why you should familiarise yourself with those that might appear on your car. Warning lights can appear in relation to your vehicle’s brakes, engine, airbag, power steering, coolant levels, and many more key components.
The RAC site provides a handy guide to how to respond to the various common car dashboard warning lights. As the roadside assistance provider explains, a ‘traffic light’ colour system is used, with red indicating a serious and possibly dangerous problem necessitating that you stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so. A green light, meanwhile, signals that the given system is working correctly or currently in use.
If you learned anything from the above rundown of things to pay attention to in your car, this should also say something to you about the importance of regular car servicing. Even if there isn’t any current and obvious problem with your car that is actively concerning you, a service can help to identify any emerging issues or risks, and keep your vehicle in the best possible condition.
If, for instance, you are on the lookout for a car servicing station in Grays, Essex, don’t hesitate to call Advanced Service Centre on 01375 384883. We can provide the comprehensive and affordable service that will help keep your vehicle on the road.