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5 essential steps to keep your car going for years to come

As a nation, it seems that most of us are understandably cautious about car maintenance ourselves. According to the survey, only one in five Poles feels very confident in maintaining their car, while half of the respondents said that they only touched on the basics. One fifth of them (20%) stated that they were unable to carry out any maintenance themselves.

In many ways, this caution is not a bad thing. It's much better to be careful and contact a professional than to try a major repair that fails and leaves you thinking - oh my, I have to scrap my car. You can undeniably save a lot of time and money by developing simpler repairs yourself. Here are the five easiest and most important checks and repairs you can fix yourself!

Check your fluids

When it comes to fluids, your car needs a lot more than just gasoline to keep it going. For example, the coolant prevents the engine from overheating dangerously, and the engine oil keeps all internal components running smoothly, protecting them from corrosion and contamination. Check the coolant level at least once a week and check the oil every two weeks or just before a particularly long journey. Transmission fluid, brake fluid, and wiper fluid are a few more that are worth paying close attention to for obvious reasons!

Replace the wiper blades

Windshield wipers go through a lot, especially in our climate, where the weather is mostly rain or snow for much of the year. This means that they can wear and tear more and more over time, and if they degrade sufficiently, they can smear or even permanently scratch the windshield.

If that happens, it's not enough to just replace the wipers, but the entire windshield, and that's definitely a job you can't do yourself. Get ahead of the problem by learning how to replace your wipers when they become noticeably old and creak.

Change spark plugs

Your spark plugs are so named because of their ability to create a spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture in the engine, which ultimately provides the thrust that propels your car. If your spark plugs are broken, or if any of them have stopped working completely, it won't be long before you start noticing the effects in your engine. For example, your engine may start to stutter or suddenly gouging huge amounts of fuel like nobody's business.

You may even experience your car "rising up" which is the term used for sudden jerking movements as you start moving or slow to a halt. This is one of the most dangerous symptoms as it is the kind of thing that can easily cause someone to bump into you at a traffic light or worse, your car to crash into a passing pedestrian. This may be an extreme example, but it's not uncommon - it's just one of the many good reasons why you should learn to do this simple repair yourself!

Check tire pressure

Low tire pressure is much more dangerous than many people realize. Low tire pressure can cause most of the tire's surface to come into contact with the road, resulting in friction and heat. The end result is something called a "bang", and if you've ever been unlucky to experience one, you know exactly how dangerous they can be.

The legal minimum tread depth for a tire is 2mm, so knowing how to check this could potentially save you from a future disaster. This is best done with a dedicated tire gauge, but in no time you can even do it with a 20p coin - just insert it into the main grooves of the tire tread. If the outer 20p coin strip does not completely disappear into this groove, then you are below the allowable tread limit, so you need to inflate the tire as soon as possible.

Change a flat tire

You can get a flat tire almost anywhere, sometimes with almost no notice. This could have happened gradually over a long journey or suddenly as a result of an explosion. Not only can you potentially save a lot of time and money by yourself, it can be especially useful if you are stuck in the countryside where help can be a long time. Just remember to replace all your spare tires with spare tires as soon as possible at a trusted garage, as many spare tires are for temporary use only.