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Car parts that you REALLY should check now to avoid a fine and when to change them


Car tyres

Car tyres must be properly maintained as it could cost you thousands if they fail (Image: GETTY)

Keeping your vehicle completely maintained and safe can be difficult as different parts will require replacing or repairing at different rates. For example tyres will need to changed much more frequently than the engine. 

It is, however, essential to keep a car well maintained and in complete working order to keep you safe on the road and also to not be a danger to others. What’s more, failure to keep your car properly maintained can land you a fine.

If police officers deem that an outstanding repair or certain damage to the car could have resulted in a car accident then you could be penalised accordingly. 

Chris Barella, Vice President of Sales at Euro Car Parts, has provided motorists with some information that could help alleviate this stress and keep your and your vehicle safe on the roads. 

Wiper Blades

Wiper blades are there to clear the rain from the windscreen and apart from that we shouldn’t notice them. Smeared screens and those annoying squeaking noises can often mean that the blades need cleaning or replacing. If the blade is not clearing the droplets of rain from your screen with a single wipe, then they need to be replaced. 

Wiper blades should last at least a year, but if you start to notice your blades smearing, it’s probably best to get them replaced.

To help you know which blades you need and how to change them, Euro Car Parts has put together a guide, which includes a handy how-to video. 

Engine Oil

As an engine burns fuel, it degrades the oil within it. Regularly changing the oil helps to remove harmful contaminates and replenishes the additives, which help keep your car’s moving parts clean and free from rust and corrosion. All of this helps to prolong the lifespan of your car.

Traditionally, it was recommended to change your oil every 3,000 miles or every three months. However, due to improvements in engine design, and the availability of fully synthetic motor oil, modern cars are now capable of going 5,000-10,000 miles between oil changes, depending on driving conditions.

The conditions that can result in an increased strain on the engine and therefore requiring more oil changes include frequent stop-start driving and driving in hot weather.

You can change the oil yourself, however you’ll require a good quality filter and it’s vital to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for oil viscosity as getting this wrong can result in engine damage and poor performance. Garages can sort this quickly and fairly cheaply.

Battery

The battery is one of the most important parts of a car, without it the car simply will not run. A battery’s lifespan can vary depending on various factors, such as how often the car is used and the length of journey. Generally, if you drive regularly it will last longer, as it gives the alternator sufficient time to recharge the battery.

Over time the battery will naturally lose its ability to hold charge and you’ll see the effects of this. You might notice that your engine is taking longer to turn over when you turn the ignition, or that the dashboard lights flicker when you start the engine.

A handy test is to check your electric windows. If they are slower when the engine is off than when it’s on, that’s a sign your battery is losing charge. If you start to notice this, we highly recommend getting the battery tested at a garage to avoid the possibility of a breakdown.

Batteries can fail without warning, but there are plenty of ways to minimise the risk of this. When your car goes for a service or an MOT, be sure to ask the garage for a battery test. They are usually free, take less than a minute and will let you know if it needs replacing. 

Car headlights

Motorists need to ensure the vehicle lights are in fully working order (Image: GETTY)

Lights

Obviously, if any of your lights stop working they need to be changed, but it’s a good idea to replace them before they go completely, as driving with a missing headlight bulb is dangerous and can result in getting pulled over the by police and being handed a fine.

Once a headlight or brake light bulb starts to fade it’s worth replacing. Remember to replace both sides at the same time. Generally, once one goes, the other isn’t far behind.

If you’re driving an older car using halogen lights, it may be worthwhile upgrading to higher power bulbs. These bulbs have a much better visibility and provide increased safety.

While you may think the best way of getting into your headlights is from the front of your car, almost all headlights are accessed from the back, so start by opening the bonnet before sussing out the best approach to take. Once you’ve located the bulb, remove it by either unscrewing it, or simply unclipping it from its plastic fitting and then insert your new bulb. For more information on headlights and how to preserve them, (including using toothpaste!), visit the Euro Car Parts blog.

Tyres

It goes without saying that it’s important to keep an eye on your tyres. Driving with tyres that don’t meet the legal requirements can pose a huge risk to yourself and other road users. Need some extra motivation to check your tyres? Getting caught driving with tyres below the legal limit can cost you three penalty points on your license and a fine of £2,500 per tyre! If you were in an accident and were driving on illegal tyres, your insurance will also be invalidated.

Legally your tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre. A good way to check this is the 20p test. Simply put a 20p coin in the tread of the tyre, if you can see the outer band of the coin, it means you’re below the limit. If the band is hidden, you’re safe.

It must be stressed that 1.6mm is the absolute minimum and it’s advised to replace tyres once they’re down to 3mm of tread as research has shown a significant improvement in braking distance.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the pressure and health of the tyre. Your car manual will tell you the ideal tyre pressure. Check regularly and before long journeys.

What’s more, if your tyre is bulging, losing pressure consistently, or you can see the canvas underneath the rubber, you need to get the tyre replaced. Get in touch with your local garage or you can also find quality used tyre shops, to save some money.



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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