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My car

VIDEO Car maintenance 101

Daniel Schonewille profile

Automotive Training Advisor Daniel Schonewille began his career as an apprentice Automotive Mechanic before moving into car service centre management. He now works at the Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence guiding the next generation of service mechanics and making sure people know how to look after their cars and vehicles.

Every car owner should know the basics of car maintenance and the simple vehicle checks that can be carried out at home.

Your car may be your best friend or your pride and joy, but above all else, it’s a machine. Every machine has a tendency to experience wear and tear over time, however, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize these issues without the need to visit a mechanic, saving you time and money.

Automotive Training Advisor Daniel Schonewille shares his expertise on how to carry out basic car checks at home and how to identify wear and tear on your car, plus the steps you can take to fix them.

Your quick and simple car care guide

Whether you’re new to the road or an experienced driver, knowing the basics of car maintenance will make you feel more confident as a car owner and help you look after your vehicle.

  • General safety check: Take a walk around your car and look for any damage, dents or deterioration.
  • Tyre check: Check your tyre’s tread and date to make sure there is not too much wear or that the tyre is not too old.
  • Tyre pressure: Use a tyre pressure gauge to make sure your tyres are not over or under inflated.
  • Changing a fuse: If something electrical has stopped working, check the fuse – it’s easier than you think.
  • Brake system check: Don’t drive your vehicle if your brake fluid level is under the minimum mark on the reservoir.
  • Brake lights and indicator check: Making sure these lights work is so important as they tell other drivers what you’re doing.
  • Coolant level check: Coolant can evaporate or leak over time, so have a look if it’s been a while since your last servicing.
  • Oil level check: Having too little oil can lead to premature wear and tear of your engine.
  • Auto transmission level check: Speak with your mechanic or dealership if you find any leaking fluid.

What you’ll need in your roadside emergency tool kit

  • Set of metric combination spanners: 8mm, 10mm, 13mm, 15mm and 17mm (older vehicles may use imperial measurement. Ask your parts retailer).
  • Eight-inch adjustable spanner.
  • Set of Phillips and slotted screwdrivers: in small, medium and large.
  • Metric socket set with 3/8th drive (older vehicles may use imperial measurement. Ask your parts retailer).
  • Pair of pliers
  • Allen key set
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Small 12-volt tyre compressor
  • Pressure can of emergency tyre Inflation
  • Can of water dispersant (such as WD40)
  • Roll of electrical/duct tape
  • Work gloves
  • Latex gloves
  • Ground sheet   
  • Clean rags (for checking oil levels)   
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Torch
  • Jack and tyre/wheel wrench

Your Emergency Car Service Toolkit

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The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.