Inside of your engine bay, there are things you need to check before going on a long journey / buying a car. Your car needs more than just oil and petrol / diesel to run. On this page I am going to explain to you what to check and why this is important.
This is important, as this is vital to keeping a healthy car. The oil acts as lubrication inside of the engine and when there is too little or none it will cause to engine to cease.
Luckily modern cars have sensors, which will indicate when the oil level is too low and will display a message or oil warning light on your dash.
Sensors can fail, that’s why it’s important to check manually. To check this simply open your bonnet and find the dip stick. Pull the stick out, wipe it with a cloth, reinsert it, then pull it out again and view the level, the stick will have a marker which indicates the correct level. If the level is too low add more oil.
To add more oil, you will have to find the oil filler cap which is usually located on top of the engine. Pour oil into the hole and redo the dip stick test to make sure, you don’t over fill it.
Even if you don’t need to add oil, it’s always important to check the cap. Take the cap off and look at the back of it, if it’s just black oil this is fine, but if there is a white paste there, this could indicate a issue.
The white paste usually signals, your head gasket is about to go. Take the car to a garage to inspect the engine before an issue occurs.
This is just as important, as checking the oil. Coolant, the clue is in the name, it cools the engine and stops it from overheating. If the engine over heats to much, it’s a sure way to knacker the engine and can cost thousands to repair.
The coolant reservoir is usually round or rectangular , with a blue, red, or pink liquid inside of it.
Most bottles have markers on the them that indicate the correct levels. If the level is too low simply add more to the correct marker. Always fill it when the engine is cold, if done when hot the liquid can burst out giving you 3rd degree burns, you have been warned.
If you can’t see the bottle due to being covered, again check when cold, open the bottle and look at the markers inside.
If you do not have any coolant, ordinary tap water can act as a temporary measure, but when possible add coolant.
Modern cars will also have sensors, which will tell you when it’s low, but it’s always good to check yourself as sensors can fail.
If you like to have brakes on your car, then make sure you check this. Having no brake fluid or too little, can cause your brakes to fail, which could mean not being able to stop.
To check this simply find the reservoir and check the levels, if to low fill to the marker for the correct level.
Brake fluid also perishes over time, so if the fluid is a dark colour it means you need new fluid. To change this, it may need to be bled, so it’s best to get a mechanic to do this.
Washer Fluid / Screen Wash
Having no washer fluid, won’t cause any mechanical issues, but it can be very dangerous to have none.
Washer fluid cleans your windscreen, so you can see out of it, having none when the screen is dirty and driving, can have catastrophic consequences.
Again, modern cars will have a sensor, which will tell you when it’s low. To refill simply find the bottle neck, and refill.
If you have no washer fluid, ordinary tap water will act as a temporally measure.
After you have checked all four of these, you are ready to go on your way.