Over the last few years I’ve been getting into road running, and despite a few dismayed colleagues who can't seem to work out why I’d want to run somewhere when I have a perfectly good car, it’s something that I really enjoy!
I love the freedom, the fitness, the effect on the waist line, and the excitement of training for a big race - I’ve done the Oxford Half Marathon a couple of times – but one thing I’m not so keen on is the price tag on a pair of trainers! I actually don’t mind paying it, but most brands tell me I should be replacing them every 6 months or 500 miles. When you add in race entries and a few other pieces of kit, for a cheap sport running can be very expensive!
We’re often given guidelines for how often we should change or service products, and the more skeptical among us might think that it’s just a ruse to extract more money out of our pockets. But when it comes to cars, the ‘get it serviced every 12 months’ rule of thumb is solid. In fact, if you’re hitting a lot of motorway miles it may even be more often than that.
Advance warning systems which inform the motorist that a service is required are now all but universal on modern cars, so in theory knowing when to book a servicing appointment couldn't be simpler. That familiar little engine symbol lights up on the dashboard, prompting us to pick up the phone and book in a service. The problem is that they can become so familiar that we forget to really notice them, especially after they've been there for a while. So, when the light does appear, make sure you act on it when you first see it.
Know your warning lights
Other lights can indicate more specific issues, such as a gearbox fault or a lightbulb in need of replacement. However, the identity of the problem might not always be as obvious as the car designers intended, so it pays to refer to your vehicle manual whenever a warning light appears. This will ensure that the light which you might otherwise assume denotes a relatively minor problem isn't in fact intended to alert you to something more serious.
An MOT is not a service
Contrary to what many motorists believe, an MOT doesn't have as much to do with the reliability of your car as you might think. Instead, an MOT merely indicates that a car can be used on the roads within the accepted standards relating to the safety of other road users. So, if you think that you can skip a service just because the MOT is due at around the same time, think again.
Be over cautious
While following the manufacturer's recommendations should be enough to protect you in most eventualities, it never hurts to be over prepared. So, consider taking your car for an interim service between the main services. Book in for a health check to ensure your car is running smoothly on the school run!
Use your senses
While the ability of the modern vehicle warning systems to detect mechanical faults before they develop into major problems can be incredibly impressive, the old fashioned technique of listening out for unusual noises or other warning signs still has its place. So if your car has developed an unfamiliar whining or a rattling sound, get it checked out. It could save you the expense of a major repair, and at the very least will put your mind at rest. Some mechanical faults - most seriously a blown head gasket - can cause distinctive smells, so trust your nose too. Lastly, never ignore anything that doesn't look right, such as a little smoke from the exhaust or the classic tell-tale patch of oil on your driveway.
Of course, even the best laid plans can go awry, so if you are worried that your car might be un-roadworthy for any reason, the best way forward is to book a service with us today, and we'll make sure that your car is in a safe and reliable condition.