Once the excitement of Christmas is over and we’ve welcomed in the New Year in fine style; January can come as a bit of a shock to the system. If going back to work is enough to give you a case of the January Blues, we dread to think how you’ll feel when you realise just how long of a wait it is until the first payday of 2017 comes around.
If bills look set to cause you unwanted stress this January, we’ve provided some handy tips and advice on how to save money on your car after Christmas.
Check the Car’s Fluid Levels
Before you start commuting again in 2017, it could pay to give your car a thorough once over to make sure it’s free of any niggling issues which could cause expensive problems down the road.
Start by checking all the vehicle’s fluid levels, particularly engine oil and coolant/antifreeze, which are both essential to the roadworthiness of your car. Oil reduces the friction of moving parts in the engine, and without it these components would quickly start to wear — causing expensive damage in the process. Coolant/antifreeze, on the other hand, helps to regulate the engine’s temperature in hot and cold conditions, so it’s important to keep it well topped up.
Luckily these fluids are easy to check; simply make sure the coolant/antifreeze is between the min and max marker on the reservoir, and use the dipstick to do the same for the engine oil.
Check the Pressure and Condition of Your Tyres
Nothing places as much financial strain on motorists as having to fork out for a new set of tyres. With a complete set of tyres costing anywhere between £300 and £1,000+ depending on the car in question, it pays to look after your current set to avoid shelling out for pricey new rubber.
To make sure tyre issues don’t impact your finances; spend a few minutes every fortnight checking the pressure and condition of your tyres. If they’re under or over inflated, adjust them to the right PSI as noted in the car’s manual to avoid flat tyres, blowouts or uneven tyre wear.
Also, check the tread depth of each tyre in turn using the 20p test. If there’s a noticeable difference between the front and back tyres, consider rotating them — this in depth guide will take you through the process.
Repair Your Own Exhaust
An exhaust which has holes or splits in it can cause you problems but it doesn’t have to cost you the earth. A faulty exhaust can cause you to waste fuel, or if it gets more serious the fumes can cause damage to other parts. Checking your exhaust for damage can be done at home – just make sure the car hasn’t just been driven or you could end up touching hot parts.
If you do notice any holes or damaged areas, you can fix them yourself on your driveway without any special equipment. All you need is some Gun Gum – it’s easy to apply and dries hard to provide a permanent gas tight seal. You can read more about repairing your exhaust here.
Change the Air Filter
If you commute regularly in your car and cover an average of 12,000 miles a year, it’s a good idea to change the air filter once a year. Air filters prevent debris, dirt and other pollutants from entering the engine, but they can become clogged after so many miles. If you have your car serviced every year, you probably won’t need to worry about the condition of the air filter, as garages often check and replace this component during the annual service.
Neglect to have your car serviced once a year, however, and the air filter will likely be in sorry old state. Luckily it’s easy and inexpensive to change the air filter yourself at home, and doing so will help to keep your engine working at its best throughout the new year.
Invest in Holts Emergency Car Care Range
Breakdowns can happen anywhere at any time, and can put an immense strain on your wallet before payday — particularly if you don’t have breakdown cover. At Holts, we’ve developed a number of handy products that can help you get back on the road in the event of an unexpected breakdown or flat tyre, including Tyreweld Emergency Puncture Repair and Bradex Easy Start.
Both products are cheap to buy and simple to use, so you can get back on the road without breaking the bank. Tyreweld lets you drive home after a flat tyre has left you stranded by the roadside, whilst Bradex Easy Start will get your car started on a cold, winter’s morning without you having to call in the professionals.
Buy both products to keep in your boot, and you’ll enjoy complete peace of mind behind the wheel — so you can reach payday without having to worry about unexpected repair bills.
For more information about our handy DIY car care range, visit the Holts homepage.