Driver Knowledge Tests

Vehicle maintenance tips every Australian driver should know

Car ownership in Australia is high and over 90% of the population has access to a vehicle. Unfortunately, ownership also comes at a price not only due to the upfront costs of buying it but also of maintaining it to a reasonable standard. If you are in possession of a vehicle, simple maintenance steps can prolong its life, improve fuel economy and enhance driving comfort and safety.

Basic Care for Your Car

Servicing your car at regular intervals based on the recommendation by the manufacturers is the best way to ensure that your ride is in a tip-top condition. The computers in newer car models tell you when they need servicing with warning signs and sounds on the dashboard. But for older cars, you might have to keep track of their maintenance records for not missing crucial tune-ups.

There are some vehicle maintenance facts that you should know as well to ensure that your car runs smoothly. One is to look after the engine of the car by regularly checking oil levels to keep it running well. Experts recommend changing the oil and filter every 5,000-10,000 km or every 6 months, whichever comes first. Keeping an eye on the coolant or antifreeze levels is another tip to help prevent the engine overheating or freezing.

Adapting to the Weather

During extreme temperatures and driving patterns, some parts of the car are affected. For example, tyre pressure must be checked at least once a month. If you’re using the freeway often, it is essential that you monitor your tyre pressure. Driving at high speeds at 120km/hr or more and carrying extra loads can strain your tyres.

In summer, the heat can also affect the pressure of your tyres while during a cold snap, you will lose some pressure and need to top up. Over or under inflating tyres has an impact on car handling, comfort and safety so it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Parts Replacement Is Important

Vehicle inspection regulations vary across states in the country. They are either done at specified periods or before registration/transfer of ownership. To prevent delays, it helps if you inspect the parts of your vehicle. According to RAC, failed batteries are a common cause of car breakdowns. Pay attention to how quickly you can start your car as this might be a sign of an ageing battery.

Wiper blades must be changed once a year for good visibility especially during rainy or foggy conditions. Have someone look behind your vehicle while you test your brake lights and get them repaired before heading for a technical inspection or registering your car. Other things that you need to look at include the horn, mirrors, wheels and the braking system. With regular servicing, most of these items will be covered. However, for your own safety and comfort, you might want to do frequent inspections and replace parts before they give you trouble.

Owning a vehicle is a serious responsibility and while it means freedom and mobility, you must also ensure that it is a safe and comfortable ride. Maintaining your car with these simple tips can go a long way in extending its life, enhancing its resale value and most of all in guaranteeing your safety and that of others on the road.

You don’t necessarily need to get right under your car to do maintenance, but it does help if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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