Car maintenance: How to improve your car for next to nothing

Car maintenance is an essential part of being a vehicle owner. This can be pricey in some cases but here are some low-cost ways of ensuring our cars are in tip-top shape.

How to improve your car for next to nothing

Engine oil

Experts say the oil level should be checked every few weeks and particularly before long journeys.

Checking the oil is easily done by lifting the bonnet and using the dipstick. You can then top it up if it’s low and the correct oil type can be found in the car’s handbook.

Air filter

It’s recommended the air filter is changed every 12 months or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

A new filter is cheap to replace, typically in the region of £10, and can be easily fitted at home.

Windshield wipers

You’ll know you need new wiper blades when the ones you’re using aren’t effectively clearing the windshield.

Fortunately, these are also cheap to purchase and usually come with instructions on how to fit them.


Your screenwash system must work by law in the UK.

Ensure it is topped up regularly with a decent additive to prevent freezing and build-up, particularly in the winter months.

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Car insurance will be invalidated if road users forget this


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Spark plugs

If you notice your engine is not performing efficiently it could be because the spark plugs are worn out or covered in build-up.

They typically cost less than £20 and can last up to 30,000 miles.


Engine coolant is a mixture of water and anti-freeze that helps prevent your engine from overheating, which can be a costly repair job if it happens.

Most modern cars will have a dashboard warning light telling you if there is a problem with the coolant but you can also check the level on the side of the expansion tank. Check your vehicle’s handbook to see what type of anti-freeze to use if it needs topping up.


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Tyre pressure

Tyres that aren’t inflated properly are dangerous and could lead to accidents.

They’ll also wear out quicker and lower your fuel economy, both of which will cost you more in the long run.

You can check your tyres at home with a portable pressure gauge. You can also buy small pressure pumps or you can top up your tyre pressure at a garage.


Batteries are the biggest cause of breakdowns in the UK, according to the AA.

A car battery has a typical lifespan of three to five years so it’s important to keep track of when it might need to be replaced with a new one before it lets you down.

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