How to properly maintain your vehicle

Written by Nigel Simpkins

For most of us, the cars we drive represent a sizeable investment. Few other purchases can command tens of thousands of pounds of our hard-earned cash – and that’s before we even consider the ongoing costs of fuelling and maintaining those vehicles.

Why does car care matter?

The right care and maintenance can have a significant influence on the amount that you ultimately end up spending over the lifespan of the vehicle. It will help your vehicle to last for longer, and make it more pleasant to drive. It will reduce your risk of being involved in an accident, or experiencing a sudden, unexpected failure. Maintenance can also help to drive down your running costs, making it a net benefit over time.

Car maintenance provides diminishing returns, which means that you’ll get the biggest benefit by doing the bare minimum of maintenance. But ideally, you’ll want to go further than that. 


Your car’s battery plays a critical role. Without it, your starter motor won’t turn, and you’ll be unable to get the car moving. Batteries, over time, will lose their ability to hold a charge. This is a pressing concern, especially if your vehicle is spending any significant length of time dormant on the drive. 

You can care for your battery by cleaning it occasionally, performing visual checks, and driving the car regularly. If your car is going to be in storage for a long time, then you might keep the battery on a trickle charge. 


The condition of your tyres will determine your vehicle’s grip on the road. You’ll want to regularly rotate your tyres to ensure that they’re wearing evenly. Inflate them regularly, to the pressures recommended by the manufacturer. You should also keep an eye on the tread depth. If it falls beneath the legal minimum of 1.6mm, then you could suffer a fine of up to £2,500, as well as a driving ban and three points per tyre. 

You can even look for tyres online to save you from having to make a physical journey, and the investment will often be rewarded with superior performance and efficiency.

Fluid levels

To function properly, your vehicle relies on several reservoirs of fluid. The engine oil is there to distribute heat and reduce friction. Then there’s the coolant, which is there to help your radiator function. Screen wash should be topped up, too – as, obviously, should your fuel reserves.

Interior and exterior

You might think of the way that your car looks as a trivial concern. But a dirty or untidy car will also tend to age more quickly. Make a habit of giving it a valet cleaning treatment every month or so, and keep on top of the clutter in the meantime.