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Regular maintenance is essential for the operational and traffic safety of Cars. This should be performed once a year or every 10,000 miles. The car manufacturer will advise the recommended option.

There is some maintenance that you can do yourself at home.  These include checking your oil levels and quality, top up the water and check the tyre pressures.

There are also some replacement parts you can undertake at home.  You can replace lightbulbs and windscreen wiper blades. To find the correct ones for your car make and model please check the owner’s guide.

If you have an electric car or hybrid, maintenance and servicing of your car are very much the same.  You can still place the windscreen wipers and lightbulbs and, if you have a hybrid car, the oil and water levels. 

Maintenance of your car at home should be done regularly, and particularly before the winter months.

The joy of being able to drive is a very liberating feeling but it would not be so good if you couldn’t stop! Brake pads are a very important aspect of your car’s operation and safety features, so it is important to recognise signs of them needing replacing and dealing with that as soon as possible. Driving with worn brake pads can be very dangerous, so be sure to stay vigilant to these signs:

• Many newer vehicles will tell you via an orange brake light if the brake pads are worn

• Worn brake pads can make a screeching or grinding noise when used

• The vehicle could pull to one side if brake pads are worn

• You could feel shaking or vibrations when the brakes are used

• It could take longer to stop if the pads are worn

• You can visually see if they are thin when you peer through the alloy wheels (should be at least 3mm of material)

If you are experiencing any of these signs, you should at least have your brake pads inspected by a professional, to advise you.

Ensuring that your tyres are kept in good operating condition is incredibly important to your road safety and other motorists you may encounter. Driving on tyres that do not have the proper tread depth or are in need of repair is incredibly dangerous for you, your passengers and other vehicles that could be involved in a accident if your tyres were to malfunction whilst driving.

Signs Your Tyres Need Replacing

• If the tread depth is below 1.6mm, it is illegal to drive on them
• There is widespread cracking or deformation of rubber
• Visible steel cords from the inner layers
• Uneven tyre wear in the canter or at the edges of the tyres
• If the tyre/tyres have been repaired numerous times
• If there is bead (edge of the tyre, in contact with the wheel) damage

If your tyres are exhibiting any of these signs or if you have any doubts about the integrity and safety of your tyres, you should seek the advice of tyre professional and ensure you get tyres replaced where necessary.

One of the most common areas of security weakness for a home is the garage. They can be seen as easy targets as they are not typically included in a home security system, they are usually separated from the home so may be less noticed during a break-in and most of the time a garage will be housing high value items. To help prevent garage theft, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

• Simply having a home security system, should help to deter theft. Security systems, especially monitored ones are a great deterrent especially when advertised on the exterior of the home.

• Ensuring your security system includes security of the garage is even better.

• Exterior motion-operated lights are an additional way to keep your property safe and less appealing to thieves.

• Ensuring garage windows are locked and secured is also important. You can have these covered so that light still gets through but people will not be able to see inside.

• You can also invest in window bars, if your garage has windows.

Connected Services are increasingly prevalent in modern vehicles, and once you understand what they are, it’s very easy to see why – they’re an excellent revenue-generator for the manufacturer and their dealer network.

Originally only present in the premium marques, these are now filtering down to the more middle-of-the-road manufacturers like Vauxhall. Essentially Connected Services entails your vehicle having an in-built telematics system, that transmits data about your vehicle directly to the manufacturer for use by the dealer network.

On the face of it, this does have a number of key benefits for the end user, particularly in terms of safety and convenience. If you get into an accident, the car calls the emergency services and transmits your location. If the car breaks down, it informs the breakdown service where you are, and what’s wrong. If you have a fault with your vehicle, the car transmits that to the manufacturer so you can book into a dealer for repairs without them having to then waste time doing diagnostics when you get there.

However, it’s important to remember that this service will always direct you to a dealer network, and as we’re well aware – that may not be the cheapest or best way to go, particularly if your car is out of warranty.