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6-Step Home Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Keep your car in top condition at home with Brayley Renault

When you’re staying safe at home, you’ll probably be using your car less frequently. To help keep your Renault in top condition at home, we’ve put together 6 at-home car maintenance tips. You’ll also find our latest Honda Servicing information and FAQs here.

If your car’s MOT is due after 30 March, it has been extended for 6 months. You don’t need to do anything, but you must ensure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Get instant answers to your questions and enquiries on our new Live Chat service. Our Service team is online if you need us.

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6 tips for easy at-Home Car Maintenance

Important: Cars have many moving parts, high temperatures and pressures. Never perform any of these actions while the motor is running. Make sure the parking brake is applied. Please be careful of other people particularly children around the car.

Kia vehicle maintenance motoring tips clean your car

1: Keep your car clean

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You must comply with the current Government guidelines at all times during the Covid-19 lockdown. You can find the latest update here (published 29 Match, 2020).

You can only wash your car if it is necessary and if it’s safe to do so for you and those around you. Your car must be on private property and you must comply with social distancing rules by keeping more than 2 metres away from people outside your household. You must not wash your car on the street, make a special journey or take it somewhere to have it cleaned.

Cleaning your car is a great way to keep it looking at its best as well as protecting components and paintwork. A clean car is also safer as you’ll ensure maximum brightness of your lights as well as maintaining visibility through the windscreen and windows.

Cleaning the outside

For the best results, choose a day when it’s not raining or not too hot and sunny. First remove any leaves or debris from vents to improve the efficiency of cooling and heating systems.

Use a bucket of clean water and a car shampoo to create foam that softens the dirt. Start at the top and work in straight lines along the car. Don’t use washing up liquid here because it will damage the wax coating on the paintwork.

Bird droppings and tree sap can potentially damage paintwork. Place a damp sponge over the area for a few minutes then rinse the car with a hose. You can also use a pressure washer – but avoid going too close to the paint surface.

When the car is clean, use a large microfiber cloth flat on the surface to dry it. Follow the lines of the car and avoid any circular movements. Polishing and waxing helps to protect your car’s paint finish and can prevent the formation of rust and oxidisation.

Sanitising the inside

Disinfecting the cabin of your car is a good idea to reduce the risk of transmitting infections.

You’ll need non-abrasive antibacterial wipes or a sanitising spray and a cloth. Clean the steering wheel, gearknob, multimedia and dashboard controls, door handles (inside and out) as well at the seatbelts.

Kia vehicle maintenance motoring tips clean your car

2: Check your windscreen and wipers

Windcreen

Regularly checking your windscreen for cracks or chips is advisable to keep your car safe. You’ll identify any small issues before they become more serious - there shouldn’t be any damage to the area covered by the windscreen wipers in the driver’s line of sight. Chips and cracks can be repaired but only if they are smaller than a £2 coin and more than 7cm away from the edge of the windscreen.

Some windscreen damage may be covered by your insurance company.

Wipers

Check the condition of your windscreen wiper blades to make sure they are not damaged or split. Wipers in good condition should not make noticeable sound on the windscreen when they are working.

Wipe down the blades with a clean cloth and neat screen wash. A quick test of your windscreen washers is a good idea too.

Screenwash

Keeping your windscreen washer fluid topped up is essential for good windscreen wiper function and visibility. On one side of the engine bay you’ll find a plastic tube or neck with a blue top.

Simply fill up the reservoir using screenwash that conforms to the manufacturer’s specifications. Do not use household detergents for this purpose.

Kia vehicle maintenance motoring tips clean your car

3: Check your tyres

Tyre damage

Begin by checking the tyre sidewall damage or distortion. When you run your hand around the tyre there shouldn’t be any bulging or holes. Look out for anything that may have become stuck in your car’s tyres such as nails or thorns.

Moving your car every few weeks can also prevent flat spots forming.

Tread wear

Check the tyre wear with a tread checker.

The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the surface around the complete circumference of the tyre. A new tyre starts with a tread depth of 8mm. We recommend that for safety and performance, you should think about replacing a tyre when it reaches 3mm of tread depth. .

As a rough guide, you can also use a 20p coin to check your tyres. When you insert the coin in the tyre tread, the raised border of the coin should disappear. If you can still see it, your tyre tread is probably too worn and needs to be replaced.

Tyre Pressure

Keeping your tyres pumped up to the correct pressure is important for performance, safety as well as to reduce tyre wear. You can normally find the recommended tyre pressures for your car on the inside of the driver’s door.

With a foot pump, compressor or on a service station forecourt, use the gauge to make sure all four tyres to the right pressure.

Kia vehicle maintenance motoring tips clean your car

4: Keep the battery charged

While your car isn’t being used, make sure that everything is switched off inside. If your car is likely to be standing for extended periods, taking it for a short run for about 15-20 minutes once a week will keep the battery charged.

You can generally leave your car stationary for a week or so with no issue. For longer periods, a smart car battery charger can be a convenient solution to keep the battery in top condition.

Take a look at our latest Renault Servicing information if you are concerned about your car’s battery.

Kia vehicle maintenance motoring tips clean your car

5: Check your lights

It’s a good idea to check your lights every week while your car is out of action. If your car is garaged you should be able to see the reflection of the lights on the wall or garage door.

If in doubt, check they are all working from outside. Start with the sidelights then repeat with the headlights on dipped and full beam, indicators and then hazard warning lights.

To check the brake lights and reversing lights, you may need someone to check that they are working while you are inside the car. Don’t forget to turn off all the lights after you’ve finished checking them.

Kia vehicle maintenance motoring tips clean your car

6: Check fluids and top up your oil

By making sure your car’s fluid levels are topped up, you can potentially avoid damage to the engine. Park your car on a level surface, apply the handbrake and turn off the engine.

Opening the bonnet

The bonnet opening release is generally situated in the driver’s foot well. Simply pull the lever to release the catch.

Then at the front of the car you’ll need to release the safety catch. This varies from model to model, but usually you’ll feel a metal lever to press or move to the left, to be able to open the bonnet.

Take the bonnet support rod and position it securely in the slot on the side of the engine bay. Now you’re ready to ready to check the fluid levels.

Engine oil

To check your car’s oil level, you’ll need to find the dipstick and prepare a clean cloth. Generally it’s a yellow or orange ring situated on one side of the motor. Pull the ring firmly to extract the dipstick completely.

The oil level should be easy to see and normally situated between the MIN and MAX lines. Wipe the dipstick with the clean cloth and insert it carefully back into the tube. Be sure to press it firmly back in place.

If the oil is below the MIN line, you’ll need to top up the oil.

Important: Only ever use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of engine oil when topping up oil levels. Check your owner’s manual for details.

Coolant levels

The expansion reservoir and the radiator contains the coolant – commonly also referred to as anti-freeze. The expansion reservoir with minimum and maximum levels should be clearly visible in the engine bay.

When the car is cold, the coolant level should be between the two lines.

Important: Never open the coolant expansion reservoir when the car is hot, as you risk serious burns from the hot, pressurised liquid.

If the level is low, unscrew the yellow cap and top up the levels with coolant that meets the manufacturer’s specification. You’ll find that in the owner’s handbook.

Fuel

If your car is left standing for any length of time, condensation can form inside the fuel tank, particularly if it is only half full. Simply keep your fuel levels topped up to avoid any evaporation of the fuel.

HOME CAR CARE TIPS FROM BRAYLEY RENAULT SERVICE TEAM

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ADVICE ON KEEPING YOUR CAR IN TOP CONDITION, OUR SERVICE TEAM IS HERE TO HELP