This post is in collaboration with Switched on Media
I have two confessions to make today. Firstly, I would like to admit that I have never changed a car tyre in my life. There’s no way you will find me on the side of the road (or wherever my car might decide to get a flat) changing a tyre. Secondly, I would also like to admit that I have never put air in my tyres because I have a huge fear that instead of putting air in my tyres, I will actually let the air out.
So with the help of my lovely husband Mr. G, a mechanic in his younger years and pre-Eva, I put together a bit of a list for ‘dummies’ like me on important aspects of car maintenance, things that you might just be grateful for knowing at some point in your life. If you’re looking to impress your other half with your mechanical knowledge, this is a good start too!
So here we go. Welcome to Eva’s Garage!
- Always aim to maintain your car’s tyre pressure at 32 psi
- To check the tyre pressure, go to a service station with a digital air pump
- Undo the plastic cap on the valve stem of the tyre, push the nozzle on and the pump will do the rest.
- Air will only come out if the nozzle isn’t pushed on correctly, push it on hard until there is no air coming out.
- If the pressure is ok, there’s no need to fill. If it needs filling, fill until 32 psi.
- You should always get a tyre rotation and wheel alignment every 10,000 km so that you are getting the best life from your tyres.
- Keep an eye on tyre wear by checking the Tyre Wear Indicators. This video explains what to look for:
Don’t know how/where to fill up your windscreen wiper bottle? Let’s take a look at the engine of this sedan, the windscreen wiper bottle is circled. Whichever make of car, the windscreen water is usually labelled with a very similar symbol.
Most cars will have a cap on top of the radiator. When checking the radiator water, it should be greenish.
WARNING: NEVER OPEN A RADIATOR CAP WHEN THE ENGINE IS HOT!
If you ever need to top up your radiator water, the water height should almost be at the top of the radiator. You will notice a secondary bottle to the radiator with a plastic hose leading to it, this is the overflow for when the water expands and contracts. The water will either go into the secondary bottle or be taken from it. Never over fill this bottle.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your car’s oil levels. But how, you ask?
- Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a rag. (Perhaps you may remember this name ‘dipstick’ because it was what you once called your idiot ex-boyfriend? Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)
- You will notice 2 marks, sometimes they can just be holes and represent a low and high mark.
- Put the dipstick back in and then pull it out again.
- As long as the oil level is somewhere near the top (high indicator) you are OK. If not, you might have to fill it up….but…
- It’s always best to have low oil levels checked by a qualified mechanic because there could be an underlying problem.
- If the oil is a funny colour, there could be a couple of reasons.
- A very black colour could mean your car is due for a service & oil change
- A milky colour could mean your oil contains water and should be checked by a mechanic immediately.
Changing a tyre
Now eventhough Mr. G has talked me through changing a tyre numerous times, I still don’t know if you’ll catch me changing a tyre. I don’t think I’d feel safe driving my car after knowing I was the one that changed the tyre, I’d be worried it might fall off! But who knows, there could be a time in the future when both you and I need to do this, a time when you might be glad you read this blog post!
All the tools you will need should be located in your car boot – a jack, a handle for the jack, a spanner.
Changing a tyre is a very visual thing and so I decided to include a video for your to follow. But make sure you check Mr. G’s tips below about changing a tyre. Mr G’s family owned a tyre business once and so he knows!
Mr. G’s Tyre Changing Tips
- Before the car is jacked up in the air, loosen the wheel nuts. It’s far easier doing it when the car is on the ground otherwise the wheel will want to spin when the car is in the air.
- While the car is jacked up, put the spare wheel that is about to go on, under the car next to the jack. When you remove the old tyre, replace the tyre and ensure there’s always a spare tyre under the car next to the jack. This is a safety measure and will save you serious injury if the car were ever to fall off the jack. At least it will fall onto the spare tyre instead.
Here’s a comprehensive video to show you how to change a tyre properly and safely.
Whether you’re the owner of an SUV, sedan car hatchback or sports car, these guidelines for car maintenance are all the same for whichever car you drive. To be honest with you, Mr. G is the one that usually keeps check on all of these things, but there have been situations where it would have been helpful that I knew a bit more than what I did. It’s a safety thing too.
Are you a bit of a dummy like me when it comes to car maintenance?
Oh and is your car insured? Better to be safe than sorry. Check out my Youi car insurance review.