Most owners recognise that cars require very little maintenance between full services, and that makes us lazy when it comes to popping the hood and checking the bonnet. This means that most of us don’t even know what we ought to be looking for when we check our bonnets.

Responsible vehicle owners should have an idea about what’s going on under their hood. Even if you’re not an expert at all things vehicles, some basic knowledge can get you a long way in terms of keeping safe on the road.

  • Although the engine area of the car will be shrouded in covers meaning you can’t see too much, taking a closer look will reveal a few level check sticks and reservoirs you should keep an eye out for. These are dipsticks to check the level of engine oil, and transmission oil if you have an automatic. Pull the dipsticks out and check that the level is between the two lines inscribed on the dipstick. Take careful note that you put the dipsticks back in the correct reservoir.
  • You should also take a look at the windscreen wash bottle. This is basically the only reservoir you’ll need to fill yourself. The whole bottle that contains the liquid may not be visible if it’s hidden beneath other components in the car, but it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of windscreen detergent on you in case you need to top it up on the road.
  • The final reservoirs to check are the brake fluid and coolant containers. Although you don’t need to top these up on your own, checking them for low levels means you can take your car to a mechanic before you need a costly repair.

Vehicles don’t often need much maintenance from the owner between services, but it’s important to keep an eye on fluid levels to make sure they are at a safe level for driving. Checking them out and getting any potential issues fixed early means you can avoid having to pay for bigger problems that can be caused by low fluid levels!