Life keeps us very busy these days and finding time to look after your car can be difficult enough, hence why many people decide to get their car serviced at their local garage. For those that try to attempt this themselves it can be fairly simple to carry out. However for the less knowledgeable or impatient car owners, these tasks can do more damage than harm. Therefore, this article demonstrates the top 5 car maintenance mistakes that you should avoid.
Overfilling the windscreen washer water reservoir or even mistaking it for something else
When your windscreen washer fluid runs out it’s always sensible to fill it back up as soon as possible so you can drive safely with clear visibility. The most common mistake that drivers experience for car maintenance is overfilling the windscreen washer reservoir with too much water. Whilst this is not a major problem as the water can run away, if the car engine is hot then there is a risk of steam being produced if you spray water over the hot engine. Another more serious mistake when filling the reservoir is not locating the correct cap, with some unfortunate souls placing the water in their radiator chamber or worse still in their engine oil compartment which can cause serious engine damage. You have been warned! Check your car manual if you’re unsure which is the right place to fill your windscreen washer with more fluid.
Fitting your spare wheel incorrectly
Another common mistake drivers make when carrying out maintenance is fitting their spare wheel incorrectly when they have a puncture or flat tyre. Always make sure you have the right size tyre and that the tread of the tyre is facing the right way, otherwise there will be speed limits you’ll have to consider when driving with the spare on. Fitting the tyre can be troublesome for the inexperienced and many forget to tighten the wheel nuts enough which can cause serious danger for the driver and other vehicles or pedestrians if it falls off. Losing a wheel at any speed on the road is extremely dangerous and will cost you more to repair the damage caused to the axle as well as any accident damage you may have. Try to tighten the wheel nuts as far as they go with a large wrench and put as much pressure on the wrench as possible. If you’re unsure that the wheel is tight enough do not drive it and seek help from a garage or roadside assistance service.
Using an abrasive sponge or cloth to wash the car’s paintwork
Moving on to the less dangerous tasks now but this can be the most painful car maintenance mistake to make. If you treasure your car’s bodywork and shine then make sure you’re using the a soft cloth to wash and clean it. Even if you’re getting a family member to wash the car as a favour make sure that they don’t use an abrasive dish washing sponge that they’ve just picked up from the kitchen to wash your car with. You can buy soft car sponges online or in most car maintenance shops for a few pounds, so don’t think any sponge will do. You’ll be screaming at yourself when you see the damage an abrasive cloth can do to a car’s paintwork, not to mention the bill you’ll have for the respray!
Incorrectly fitting windscreen wipers
It can be a very fiddly job putting new windscreen wipers on but persevere with it and ensure they are fitted correctly otherwise you could be driving dangerously on the road should they fall off and heavy rain or dirt on your windscreen appears. It may sound funny to imagine a windscreen wiper falling off a car but not only could you be in danger from poor visibility when it happens but other drivers on the road will be at risk too, not forgetting pedestrians who could be injured from the wayward windscreen wiper or your car as it veers off the road. If you’re having difficulty fitting the windscreen wiper get a local garage to check it over for you. Most will do this for free anyway especially if you’re buying the windscreen wiper from them.
Using household glass window cleaner on the back windscreen
You may think cleaning your back windscreen with household window cleaner is a sensible option – it cleans the dirt off and keeps your rear view clear. However, many forget that many household window cleaners contain ammonia and because your back windscreen contains heating elements to clear the ice and de-mist it in the winter, then the ammonia can attack these metal strips in the window causing it to stop working. If you must use a cleaning fluid for your back windscreen, get a dedicated automotive windshield washing fluid which you can pick up from supermarkets or car maintenance shops.
Well that brings us to the end of our top 5 car maintenance mistakes. We hope you never experience any car maintenance mistakes of your own, especially after reading this article. But remember, if you’re unsure about any car maintenance task get a professional garage to help you, as in the long run it could be cheaper and definitely will make you safer on the road. Here at MCM Garage we can help with any car maintenance job if you’re local to Bath, Radstock, Midsomer Norton and the surrounding areas. Just call into our garage or contact us today and we’ll be happy to help fix your car and get you back on the road.