Under the Bonnet

Tuesday, 3 April 2012
A car is like any other piece of equipment in the sense that it will need some basic maintenance in order to keep it working properly.

As the driver it is your responsibility to make sure that the car is in top shape and a road worthy condition.

We have already discussed issues such as tyres but there are a couple of other key components that we need to look at. Unlike the tyres, these items aren’t out in open view so it is possible that many people over look them.

There are some basic under bonnet checks you can do and it is so easy, anyone can do it. Some manufactures have made it pretty straight forward with colour coding. The things you can check are highlighted with yellow, blue or white.

Let’s go through each of them.

Dip Stick
This allows you to check the level of the engine oil. Make sure the car is on a level surface. Remove the dip stick and wipe off any oil with the clean cloth.

Push the dip stick back into its original position then remove it and check the oil level on the markings on the end of the dip stick. Top up oil if necessary.

Oil Filler Cap
Generally this is on the top of the engine. Simply unscrew this to add oil to the engine.

The battery needs water to cover the electrodes. Unscrew the caps the check the level in each chamber. Add water if needed but don’t overfill them past the maximum level.

The Coolant level is easy to check because the overflow bottle is clear and has maximum and minimum levels clearly marked. Top up if needed.

Wind Screen Washer
Again this is straight forward to keep topped up. Just pop off the cap and top up with water when necessary. Adding a little wind screen wash solution will also help keep the screen clean and free of road grime.

Brake and Power Steering Fluid
Here again both these reservoirs are clear sided and also have high and low markings on them.

Replacing the Wiper Blades

Your level of visibility is already compromised when it’s raining, so increase this handy cap further by persisting with worn out wiper blades. As a guide it is a good idea o replace these every six months or so. The job itself is quite to do yourself or ask your service manager to do it for. This is one of those little things that can make a big difference.

Check the owner’s manual if you’re in any doubt or contact your local dealer’s service department. A visit to your local auto store would also be a smart move. It’s been my experience that they’ll be more than happy to give you the advice you need.

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