Time to check batteries and fluids

Time to check batteries and fluids

Carrying out basic maintenance on a car can prevent drivers being left stranded on the side of the road this winter, according to motoring experts.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) says making sure car batteries are in a good condition and that coolant, anti-freeze, oil and brake fluid levels are topped up are vital in making sure cars run well.

The most common reason for motorists having to use their breakdown cover is a flat battery.

It should be clamped into the battery tray and the fan belt should be tight. If it screeches then it could need tightening or a replacement. Batteries should be kept clean and replaced every five years, the IAM says.

It said motorists should use the right sort of anti-freeze in the engine coolant to avoid head gasket problems, and the level of coolant should be checked on a regular basis when the engine is cold. Too many top-ups could mean there is a leak. Those who do not have enough anti-freeze risk their engines failing to start on cold winter mornings.

Modern engines do use up oil so it is important to check the dipstick when the car is on level ground. Models use different types of oil so it is important to pour the right one in and if the oil disappears quickly it is usually a sign of an engine problem.

Copyright Press Association 2014