A guide for basic car maintenance

A guide for basic car maintenance

Servicing your car regularly is essential to your car’s health. However, there’s a lot you can do to keep up your car maintenance at home in between services.

Top up your liquids

Making sure all of the liquids in your car are topped up is key for day to day driving. It’s actually illegal to not have fluid in a vehicle’s screen washer bottle. Meaning it’s a good idea to keep it in check at all times.

It’s also a good idea to ensure your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on your car’s dipstick. If you’re low on oil, you risk breaking down or causing damage to your vehicle’s engine.

Pressure and tread checks

Checking your tyres for general wear and tear, splits, bulges and tread depth is very important. To do this in the easiest way possible and without going to find special equipment, use a 20p coin. The minimum tread depth level is 1.6mm and the outer edge of the coin is about 2mm so putting this in your tyre tread is a great way to check to see if it’s too low.

Using a pressure gauge, you can check the pressure of your tyres. Getting an accurate reading and comparing this to the guidelines for your car will ensure that you keep your tyres up to standard.

Air filter checks

The air filter extracts dirt and dust particles from the air. Meaning it is important that it’s checked regularly and changed every 20,000 miles or so.

You can find the filter under the bonnet in the cold air collector box. Remove the air filter and look at it all over, hold it up to bright light and if the light passes through more than half, it’s good to be returned. If not, it’s due to be replaced.

Brake checks

There are a number of signs to look out for when checking brakes. This could be a number of things, including grinding, squeaking, pulsating or pulling to either side. If you notice any one of these when driving it’s definetely time to get your breaks checked.

On many vehicles you can also see the brake pads through the holes in the wheels, if when looking at these, they’re looking particularly thin, it’s time to get them professionally checked.

Clean your car

Your car is subject to all of the elements. From road salt to bird droppings, some of these can cause lasting damage to the paintwork of your vehicle. Meaning it’s a good idea to regularly wash your car, inside and out to keep its body in good shape. A clean car not only looks nice, it also makes it easier to spot if something has gone wrong!


A bulb that isn’t working is a safety hazard. So it’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect each bulb and look for any inconsistencies. Consider a few extra steps to keep them all in good health too. This includes cleaning the lenses and replacing bulbs if they start to become dim.

Warning lights

It’s good to learn a little about the warning lights on your car. This can save you from taking it straight to a garage.

Check engine light – this indicates a problem in the various components of your car’s motor.

Service engine light – tells you you’re nearing a scheduled maintenance.

Electrical fault light – if this stays lit after a self-test it’s best to take the vehicle straight to a professional for maintenance.

Brake warning – there could be many reasons for this including brake fluid levels, but it might be best to check your manual.

ABS warning – these keep your car stable so it might be best to take your car to a professional so that they can use specialised tools to check.


Servicing your vehicle is the ultimate maintenance. The service centre at Spencers MOT is there to keep your car in tip-top condition. With highly trained technicians and honest and accurate advice, we will take care of you and your vehicle.

Looking for an MOT or Service Centre in Norwich?

Check your MOT status.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.