Maintain your car: Top ways to do it

Caroline Cassidy

Remember to shop around for quotes on breakdown cover. Most policies cover you as well as the car so make sure you have the emergency number to hand before setting off on your travels. If you're a passenger when a friend's car breaks down, you can still use your policy.

Regular servicing is the best way to avoid problems. If you have a recent model the chances are your vehicle won't need too much attention between visits to the mechanic. Regular servicing is the key to preventing costly problems before they arise. Check your service history and make sure you keep up to date with visits.

For your engine to run as well as possible you need to change your air filter regularly. Your vehicle will perform well if it can efficiently take air in and push gasses out. The filter will remove harmful dust from the air before it gets to your engine. Look at your filter when you change your oil. If it looks clogged and dirty then replace it. You should be thinking of changing the filter every 15000 miles.

Your car brake fluid should be flushed at least once every two years. When you break you should watch for any change in the tension in the pedal. Should the pedal feel soft and go to the floor then you may have a leak. If this happens then seek professional help immediately.

Washing your car regularly is the secret of keeping it looking great. Dirt on your car's paintwork can result in result in scratches when you come to wash it. If you haven't washed your car for a while then hose it down first. This should remove any troublesome grit before you hand wash. Try and use up and down motions, this will avoid swirl marks on the exterior. Change the water in the bucket and rinse the sponge well to remove anything particles that could cause a scratch.

Overheating can cause serious damage so check the coolant level in your car at every oil change or every 3,000 miles. Try having the radiator flushed every year in tandem with your other car maintenance.

Top up your windscreen fluid. Mix with water according to the instructions on the bottle and top up regularly. Try keeping some spare the in the boot too. You should always be able to clean your screen on dirty wet roads.

Your tyres need to be checked regularly to make sure they are at the correct pressure. Driving on under inflated tyres causes overheating and steering problems. Having tyres that are incorrectly inflated will mean a greater risk of damage and wear and tear. This means more replacements and greater cost. You will also burn more fuel and therefore incur greater expense.