DIY car maintenance

DIY Car Maintenance Tips for NZ Drivers: Keeping Your Vehicle in Top Shape

Regular vehicle servicing isn’t merely a routine chore; it’s integral to maintaining compliance with your mechanical breakdown insurance policy. In this post, we go into the specifics that make this relationship indispensable.

Checking and Changing Engine Oil

Regularly checking your engine oil level and changing the oil and filter as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer can significantly extend the life of your engine. You’ll need a wrench, an oil filter wrench, a funnel, a drain pan, new oil and a filter. Always check your oil level when the engine is cold and parked on a level surface to get an accurate reading.

Maintaining Tyre Pressure and Tread

Proper tyre maintenance is essential for safe driving, especially considering New Zealand’s winding roads and variable weather conditions. Use a tyre pressure gauge to check your tyres regularly, including the spare, ensuring inflation to the level specified in your car’s manual. Also, inspect the tyre tread for wear and tear. Remember, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.5mm in NZ, but for optimum safety, especially in wet conditions, consider replacing tyres before they reach this minimum.

Replacing Windscreen Wipers

Windscreen wipers are crucial for maintaining visibility during NZ’s frequent rain showers. Replace wipers once a year or as soon as you notice a decrease in performance. Most wipers can be replaced easily by lifting the wiper arm away from the windshield and pressing the small tab that allows the wiper blade to slide off.

Checking and Replacing Air Filters

A clean air filter improves engine performance and efficiency. Check your air filter every six months and replace it as needed. Replacing an air filter is typically a simple task that requires no tools. Locate the filter box, open it, and replace the old filter with a new one.

Inspecting and Changing Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are essential for your engine’s performance. Checking and changing spark plugs at intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer can improve fuel efficiency and engine start-up. You’ll need a spark plug socket, ratchet, and a gap gauge to ensure they’re gapped correctly according to your vehicle’s specifications.

Battery Maintenance

A car battery typically lasts three to five years. Keep your battery terminals clean and corrosion-free to ensure your car starts reliably, especially in colder NZ regions. You can clean terminals with baking soda, water and a wire brush.

Checking and Topping Up Fluids

Regularly check and maintain proper levels of all vehicle fluids, including brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid. These fluids are crucial for the safety and efficiency of your vehicle. Use a funnel to avoid spillage, and always use the type of fluid recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Brake Pad Inspection

Brake pads are critical for your safety on the road. While replacing brake pads might require more advanced skills, inspecting them for wear is something you can do at home. Look through the wheels’ spokes; if the pad thickness is less than ¼ inch, it’s time to consider getting them replaced.

These DIY maintenance tips will keep your vehicle in good condition, save you money on professional services, and ensure you enjoy safer journeys. Always consult your vehicle’s manual before performing any maintenance tasks, and invest in good tools. Remember, some tasks may require professional expertise, so consult a mechanic to ensure your car’s safety and reliability if in doubt.

Ready for the unexpected? Ensure your vehicle’s protection with Mechanical Breakdown Insurance. Call 0800 288 654 or click here for a quote today.