Driving properly and keeping you car serviced will save you money and keep you safe. Consider the following points.
- Aggressive driving: Increases tyre wear, is harder on your car which in turn will lead to replacing tyres and parts earlier than normal.
- Driving at speed: Increases tyre wear, uses considerably more fuel. Keep within the speed limit – it is cheaper and safer!
- Weight: Only carry what you need in your car. Extra weight uses more fuel and is harder on tyres. If you don’t need it, leave it at home.
- Tyre Pressure: Over inflation or under inflation increase tyre wear. Tyres are costly so keep your tyres at the correct pressure. Check them approximately every two weeks when they are cold using a good pressure gauge.
- Wheel Alignment. Incorrect wheel alignment causes your tyres to wear unevenly. Have the alignment checked regularly. It saves you money.
You could expect a front-wheel-drive car to do minimum of 20,000 miles for front tyres, and double that for those on the rear. Keeping them rotated is the best way to get the most out of them. For better and more even wear, move them diagonally between front and rear: i.e. R.H front to L.H rear. L.H front to R.H. rear. This should normally be done if you get your car serviced by a Garage or a mechanic, but keep an eye out that it is done.
In Ireland the legal minimum limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm.
Tyre performance, particularly in wet weather gets worse as the thread wears down and can be very dangerous leading to accidents. The greater the wear on your tyres the worse their grip will be in wet weather. Thread depth should be checked more frequently once it reaches 3mm. Tyres should be replaced before their thread depth wears below 2mm. This is especially important when heading into the autumn and winter months.
Regular self checking your car will save you money as you will spot changes as they appear which in turn allows you to take it to the Garage in time.
There is an abundance of good used parts to be found if you need some replacements. On average a good used part will cost 80% less than a new one.
So when you are told that you need a new part check and see if you can source it from a good Car Breaker it is definitely the cheaper option.
Some parts which you should think about before deciding to buy secondhand:
- Brakes: Pads should always be new and you should buy the best quality that you can afford!
- Shocks: Normally you should invest in new shocks. They are important for comfort and play an essential role in stopping your car properly when braking, however your Mechanic will know if a used shock is worth the effort in fitting it.
- Clutch: Changing a clutch can be an expensive repair so be careful if using a secondhand one, weigh up the costs before deciding.
- Bearings: These are parts that wear over time so it is probably not advisable to replace them with something that’s already half worn.
- Batteries: New batteries will come with a warranty and will sometimes work out cheaper than buying 2ndhand.
- Tyres: Partly worn tyres may appear to be cheaper, but look closely at the amount of tread mm you get for your money. New tyres will have 8 mm of tread. So weigh up how much tread you are getting. Always check if the tyre has any lumps or bumps on it, if so don’t buy.
- Air Filter: Is not an expensive part, so always buy new. A clean filter makes you car more fuel efficient, and will save you money on fuel.
Get into the habit of checking your car over every week. It will save you from breaking down and costing you money. A few tips:
Lights: Keep your indicators and headlamps clean and ensure all bulbs are working properly. Be able to see, and be seen.
Fuel: Stay out of the red, always have a good amount of fuel in your tank. If it runs out while driving, it may suck up some dirt from the tank which will cause even more trouble and expense for you. Not to mention the hassle.
Windscreen water: Make sure the windscreen water reservoir is filled up and put some wash aid into it. It is very annoying if you are driving and cannot wash your screen. It can also be dangerous as your view could be severely restricted with a dirty windscreen.
Engine water/Coolant:Visually inspect and top up the reservoir if needed to ensure it is up to the correct mark. If the coolant runs out you will severely damage your engine, which is a very costly business.
Oil: Check levels when cold and while the car is on level ground. Top up if necessary. Keep an eye out for leaks on the ground underneath the car.
Electrics : If any warning lights appear, check your drivers handbook if you don’t what they mean. If they are red and staying on don’t move!
Windscreen and Wipers: Clean them regularly, it helps you see out. Put some additive into your screen wash solution, it prevents smearing.
Tyres – Make sure to check tyre treads and walls for excessive wear and damage.
In Summary, care for your car and you will reap the rewards financially and from a safety viewpoint.