If you own a British car or are interested in purchasing one, these tips are for you. While many car maintenance tips are universal, some features become more important depending on the origin of your car. Here are some tips to take care of your British vehicle.
Change filters regularly
Your car’s oil filter and air filter become clogged over time, which is why they need to be frequently cleaned or changed. This is normally part of your regular maintenance schedule, but it’s important to stay on top of it. Additionally, check and replace your fuel filter to help prevent impurities from reaching your engine.
Drive smoothly, but allow your car to work at full capacity
Just like your own body, cars like to be warmed up before you put them through the workout, and similarly there’s some things that no matter how much of a warm up, your car won’t like doing. Driving smoothly reduces overall wear and tear and helps to increase your miles per gallon. To do this, you should accelerate slowly and give yourself time to brake slowly, rather than quick speedups and braking. That said, if you never rev your engine fully, carbon deposits can build up and foul the valves, intake manifold and other parts, reducing efficiency and potentially causing a misfire. You should therefore allow your engine to rev to the redline at least once every few hundred miles – but only when the oil is warm and you’re on a quiet road. This often happens on longer road trips, so you should have one every few months.
Top off fluids regularly
Your car runs on a variety of fluids from oil to coolant to fuel. It’s important to make sure that these fluids are topped off regularly. The oil level should be between the minimum and maximum markers on the oil dipstick and be a light yellowy-brown colour. Dark, dirty oil should be replaced. Your coolant reservoir should be topped up with 50% distilled water and 50% antifreeze. Gas is also incredibly important of course, but with the British vehicles, they recommend that you never go below half to prevent condensation in the tank as well as increasing the risk of impurities that may have reached your tank.
Check your tires
Tires are not only the thing that helps your car move, but they are also the first and most important part of safety. You should be regularly checking to make sure they are properly inflated and in good condition. Recommended tire pressure is usually listed in your manual so that you can use a tire pressure gauge to check your air levels. Under-inflated tires will increase fuel consumption. Further, tires wear differently between the front and back, so it’s important to rotate them along with checking alignment and suspension. For highest safety, they recommend that the least-worn tires be placed in the back as they help to make correcting during an issue easier. To check the condition of the tires, your recommended tread depth should be no less than 2mm; the easiest way to check is to stick a penny in the tread and use it to measure your depth. Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.
Stick to the service schedule
Just as with any vehicle, it’s important to keep up with the maintenance schedule. Most dealers recommend every 3,000 miles, but many newer vehicles have recommendations between 5,000 and 7,500 now. Check the handbook to find out when your car is due for service and what work is required. Most of the time, the service is just an oil and filter change with multipoint inspections for oil and fluid leaks, tire pressures and condition, excessive exhaust emissions, brake wear, and the correct operation of the steering, gearbox, clutch, suspension, lights, wipers and horn. Every few services, your car often requires more thorough checks and replacement of things like air filters, spark plugs, and cambelt. The number of tasks included in even a minor service is numerous, but all should include checks.
Use a reputable shop that specializes in British cars
When its time for service, use a reputable shop that has a true passion for British cars. Locally, Ed’s British 4×4 in Brentwood has a staff with over 50 years of experience, specifically with British cars like Land Rover.
Keep your car clean
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked parts of your regular car maintenance. Keeping your car clean makes it look better for longer and can keep it in better working order. Grit and grime gets into moving parts and the chassis, leading to accelerated wear and corrosion, especially during the winter when road salt is frequently on the road. Just like the outside, the inside also needs regular cleaning to keep the plastic free of cracks and discoloration. If you have leather, cleaning your seats is especially important to keep the leather pliant and in good condition. Here’s a simple list of caring for your car cleaning:
For the seats:
- Be sure to vacuum the seats first and pick up any debris that may be sitting on top of the material
- Using a leather cleaner, do a surface clean of the area by wiping it down with a microfiber cloth
- Using the same cleaner, scrub the seats with a bristle brush to help work out any other dirt and debris that may have accumulated
- Wipe the area with a microfiber cloth
- Using a high-quality leather condition, apply it to your seats based on the product’s directions
For the trim:
- Vacuum the interior of your vehicle first to collect any dust and debris
- Using a product that’s safe for your interior material, wipe down the trim using a microfiber cloth
- With a new microfiber cloth, wipe off/dry the area for a streak-free shine
For the exterior:
- Having the exterior of your vehicle cleaned will help it look new, and you can do this yourself or have it detailed at a car wash
- After the wash, be sure to apply a safe polish to your model to help it look new and repel dirt and debris