3 New Year Checks Every Car Owner Needs To Make

Over the course of a year, our cars will cover a lot of mileage and spend a lot of time out on the roads.

In fact, according to the National Transport Survey, the average household car travels 7,800 miles a year, the average person makes 514 car trips every year, and each person spends an average of 13,000 minutes driving annually.

It’s little wonder, then, that all of this extensive driving eventually takes its toll on your vehicle. Whether it’s a worn out engine, tyres that have seen better days, or even just a dirty windscreen from old wiper blades, it’s important to keep on top of your car maintenance to keep your vehicle road-worthy.

This becomes even more important after cold, winter weather, so here we’ve found three checks every car owner should make in the new year.

Oil and Coolant

Your engine oil and coolant levels are extremely important in helping your engine run efficiently and safely, and both of these can be affected by winter weather.

Winter temperatures can freeze your car engine and radiator, so having the right level of coolant in your tank is vital to make sure your engine maintains the right temperature level. To check it, you must locate the clear plastic tank underneath your bonnet and check that the coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. If it’s below the minimum, refill the tank.

Your oil is also important to keep your engine running by lubricating all the moving parts and preventing them from seizing up. During winter months, you need the correct viscosity for your car’s engine (which can be found in the manual) as oil that is too thin will not provide the right protection, whilst oil that is too thick will stop your engine from starting properly.

To check the oil, locate the dipstick and check the oil is between the minimum and maximum levels and top it up as required.

Tyres

Tyres will gradually erode over the many miles you cover over the year, so it’s best to start the new year with some fresh tyres if needed. This is especially true with the cold weather during January, as worn tyres will have less grip on wet roads and ice.

By law, the tread depth on each tyre must be 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre and across the complete circumference. However, many experts recommend at least a treat depth of 3mm.

To test this, insert a 20p coin into the tread grooves of the tyre. If you can see the outer band of the coin, then your tyres could below the legal limit.

It’s also important to make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct limit, as found in your manufacturer’s guide, by using a pressure gauge at a petrol station.

Battery

Finally, your battery should be checked at the start of the new year to ensure your electrics are still in good shape.

We spoke to VW Motor Parts for some tips, who said: “After the winter months and cold weather, car batteries are unlikely to work at their most efficient level.

Cold weather decreases the battery’s capacity from around 20-50% depending on the temperatures, so be sure to make some short trips to get your battery back up to speed before embarking on any longer journeys.

If you notice a few false starts, be sure to check your battery voltage levels with your mechanic.”