Save yourself some time and money by following our DIY maintenance tips for your tyres, fluids, oil, brakes, battery, and lights. Some won’t take you more than five minutes – you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be!
To be clear, these tips shouldn’t replace your car’s regular service, but they can get you by in between.
If you’re experiencing issues with your car’s brakes, batteries, tyres, lights, oil or fluid give our experts a call on 1300 772 579 to see how we can help, or find your nearest store here.
Fluid level check tips
This is one of the simplest ways to keep your car running smoothly. It takes no more than five minutes to do and could end up preventing a major issue. Use your car’s manual to locate where each type of fluid is located and how to tell if you’re running low on:
- Brake fluid
- Engine coolant
- Power steering fluid
- Windscreen fluid
- Transmission fluid
Oil check and change
Checking your oil regularly is important and should be done at least once a month. To check oil levels, ensure the car is warm and parked on level ground. Give it a few minutes to settle before locating the dipstick (your manual will be able to tell you where it is), removing it, and wiping it clean. Now push the dipstick all the way back in and remove it – if it’s between the two high and low marks, it’s all good (though you might want to top up if you’re very close to the low end).
Take note of the oil condition. It should be a golden colour with a smooth consistency. If it’s dark, mud-like, or gritty, you will need to change the oil.
Tyres, including your spare, should be checked frequently to ensure there is enough air pressure and the tread has not been worn down. Tyre pressure should be checked when the tyres are cold, so do it at home with your own pressure gauge or drive to a service station that is close by.
Pressure is commonly measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and bar units. The minimum requirement for your tyres will be specified by the manufacturer on a placard inside the driver’s door, petrol flap or in the glove box.
Tyre tread and wear
It’s crucial that your tyre tread depth is at least 1.6mm. You’ll be able to tell if you’re nearing the legal limit by the wear indicators on your tyres. Remember to check for other obvious signs of damage and wear and tear, as these could put you at risk.
Make sure your external lights (such as headlights and brake lights) are in working order. If you don’t have someone to check the brake lights with you, simply check them while the rear of the car is facing a wall and you can see the reflection. In Australia, a broken brake light is a fine-worthy offence, so just give them a quick check once a week. You can also give the horn and windscreen wipers a check, while you’re at it.
Locate your car’s battery and make sure there is no mineral build up or leakage. If there is a crusty, white mineral build up, purchase a battery cleaning brush from any auto store and clean it off. This can help preserve your battery for much longer.
It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your brakes. If your brakes are noisy or slow to respond and there’s nothing wrong with your brake fluid levels, it could be a sign that you need to get them fixed. Don’t forget to check your hand brake, too. Every now and then, park on a hill and test your hand brake to make sure it still holds.