Doing vehicle maintenance yourself is a cost-efficient way of keeping your car on the road. Most maintenance is easy and takes only a few minutes when you have the correct tools or equipment on hand. Keeping these items in your car or garage ensures you have what you need to keep your car maintained.
Checking tyre pressure is simple and it is something that should be done frequently. Too little pressure can cause a blowout or damage to the tyre, while too much pressure can cause the tyre to lose contact with the road, which may result in an accident. A tyre pressure gauge is the most accurate tool for checking tyre pressure and they come in either manual, dial or digital forms. All are inserted onto the valve stem of the tyre, but the read-out differs. A manual gauge also known as a 'pencil' style gauge has a stick that pops out and gives you a PSI reading. A digital gauge provides an immediate reading on an LCD display. Some even light up for checking pressure in poor lighting conditions. Dial gauges use an analogue dial similar to the face of a clock. The needle moves and indicates current pressure. The pressure reading should match the PSI number found on the sticker located on the driver's side door. All of the gauges are pretty accurate and the type preferred depends on the user.
Coolant Tester or Test Strips
The coolant located in the vehicle keeps the engine cool during driving. In most makes and models, it is recommended that the cooling system contain a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water. After time, the coolant can break down or as water is added, the proportion can change too much. To avoid issues, the protection level of the coolant should be checked regularly. A coolant tester is very inexpensive and simple to use. The tools contain a bulb on the top so you can insert the tester into the radiator and draw out a small amount of coolant. The test has little balls, also known as "floats", that indicate whether coolant is needed. Another option is test strips. With test strips, you withdraw a small amount of coolant and place it on the strip. The strip will change colour to indicate the condition or proportion of the coolant.
Batteries tend to lose a charge as the age. This is also true if you park your vehicle for long periods. To avoid a dead battery, a trickle charger comes in handy. This charger also helps extend the life of the battery. Trickle chargers supply a steady amount of amps to the battery to bring a battery back to optimal charge and to prevent overheating. There are many types of trickle charges on the market with the major difference being the amps that they offer. The amps should be close to what the battery requires. Other features that are found on trickle chargers are solar-power or plug-in styles and automatic shut-off functions. Automatic shut-off is helpful for preventing the battery from becoming overcharged which can lead to an explosion or other damage.
Car Wash Products
Part of maintaining a car is ensuring it stays clean. Keeping it clean can also prevent rust and other corrosion on the body. Some of the most common products to keep on hand for giving your car a good bath include car wash products designed for use on auto paint, a sponge or mitt and car wax. A good bug-and-tar remover is also helpful to remove stubborn spots. For the wheels, a sponge or cloth is a good choice along with a cleaner designed for the type of finish on your rims
Doing any type of maintenance on a car can come with some risks. This is especially true when charging batteries, changing tyres or working under the bonnet. For this reason, you should have some basic safety gear on hand. This includes safety googles, gloves, rags for spills and a fire extinguisher.
A blown fuse can impact a vehicle, but locating the blown fuse is not always easy. This is where a multimeter comes in handy, as it can help you determine which fuse to replace. Multimeters range from inexpensive to pricey depending on the features it has. They come in bench top and hand-held models. For vehicle use, most people prefer hand-held models, as they are lightweight and portable. Multimeters work by providing a decimal readout on the LCD screen. Choosing a multimeter with auto ranging can also help you diagnose computer or wiring problems if the need ever arises. To use a multimeter, connect the test leads, select the right setting and measure the fuse. A fuse is still good if the reading shows a low resistance value.
Auto maintenance tools can help you keep your car performing at an optimal level. The investment in a few pieces of equipment can help you save money in the long term.