Car FAQs

General Vehicle Maintenance

How do I check/top-up my antifreeze (or engine coolant)?

Wait until your engine has cooled down and look for your expansion tank; check your vehicle handbook if you’re not sure which one this is. Then look for the min and max levels which should be clearly marked. If the liquid is below the minimum level use a funnel to add coolant suited to your vehicle, pre-mixed to the correct strength.

Remember: antifreeze is essential all year round, not just in the winter.

How do I check/top up my screen wash?

With a cold engine, open the bonnet and identify your screen wash reservoir. This will usually be labelled via a diagram of a windscreen being washed; if you aren’t sure check your vehicle handbook. Next, look for the min and max lines, if you require a top up carefully pour in pre-mixed screen wash using a funnel. You can purchase screen wash from many stores and supermarkets, as well as most petrol stations.

Remember: bad weather or excess dust in the air will cause you to use your screen wash more regularly. If you notice these conditions, check your screen wash often and especially before all major journeys!

How do I check/top up my engine oil?

Make sure you are parked on level ground and the engine is cold. Identify the dipstick; this usually has a yellow loop you can use to pull it out. Remove it, then wipe it off with a dry, lint-free cloth. Push it all the way back in then remove it once more and look at the end. The min and max area should be marked with letters, words or simply an area of crosshatching (check your vehicle handbook if you aren’t sure).

If the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add more. You can get this done professionally or do it yourself. To do it yourself, purchase oil of the grade recommended in your vehicle handbook from an auto shop or garage. Remove the engine oil filler cap and add a little at a time using a funnel; it’s important to avoid overfilling. You can keep an eye on the level using the dipstick as before.

Tyres

How do I check my tyre tread?

Your tyre tread should be at least 1.6mm deep in the central three grooves around the whole circumference. Here are two simple ways to check your tread depth:

  • Tyre tread depth gauge –  They’re easy to use and can give you an accurate reading of your tread depth.
  • 20p test – a popular and simple way of checking tyre tread is with a 20 pence coin. Simply take a 20p coin and place it in the main grooves of your tyre. If you can see the outer band of the 20p coin when it's placed in the tyre then the tyres may be dangerous and illegal and should be inspected by a tyre professional.

How do I check my tyre pressure?

To check your tyre pressure you’ll need an accurate tyre pressure gauge. You’ll also need to know the manufacturer recommended pressure for your vehicle’s tyres – you can find this information in your vehicle handbook and it’s usually printed inside the petrol cap too.

Take the dust cap off the valve which will be sticking out of your wheel. Fit the tyre pressure gauge and take a reading. If it’s below the recommended minimum you need to add more air.

Remember: a tyre that is underinflated by 10% will cost you a 1.5% loss on your MPG.

What tyres does my car need?

UK law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre for the vehicle type you are driving and for the purpose it is being used. This means fitting the right tyres and for safety ensuring that they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.

  • You can find out the right tyre pressure for your car in your vehicle handbook.
  • You can identify the tyres you require by the numbers and letters written around the outer rim. The first number is the width of the tyre in millimetres; the second is the height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the width or aspect ratio; the R is for radial Tyre (this may be absent on older tyres); the fourth number is for Load Rating, the second letter is the Speed Rating and finally the last two digits is the ECE type approval mark.
  • Decoding your tyre size can be complicated; if you bring your car to your local Brindley Garage our tyre team will be happy to advise which tyre replacements you need.

For more information check out our tyres page or get in with your local Brindley Garage .

Getting a car service

What is car servicing?

Servicing is an essential part of vehicle ownership which involves technicians or mechanics examining vital elements of your car for signs of wear and tear, topping up fluids and advising of any part replacements or repairs required. As well as ensuring you stay safe in a vehicle which operates as it should do, a full service record can also help improve the resale value of your car.

How often should I service my car?

You can find out how often you need a service in your vehicle handbook which should have been supplied to you when you bought your car. Most people keep theirs tucked in their gearbox; if you’re struggling to find yours contact the aftersales team here at Brindley who will be able to advise on the recommended intervals.

What is manufacturer-approved servicing?

Manufacturer-approved servicing means the garage you choose will look after your car in-line with manufacturer guidelines, with specialist technicians who have expert knowledge on your make of car. It also means your car will be maintained using genuine manufacturer parts, materials and equipment. We at Brindley Garages offer manufacturer approved servicing for all the brands we represent.

What is Brindley Value Servicing?

If your car is 3 years or older and no longer covered by the manufacturer warranty it is still vital to look after your car and this is where a Brindley Value Service can help. By servicing your car annually it will make it run more efficiently and will also help with its future sale value when you come to sell it. Here at Brindley Garages we offer our Value Servicing on all makes and models of vehicle.

Vehicle essentials every car driver should have

All Year-round essentials

  • Fully-charged mobile phone and in-car charger
  • Sunglasses – to deal with glare from the sun or snow
  • Personal medication
  • Warning triangle
  • Spare bulbs
  • First aid kit
  • Road atlas – in case of diversions
  • Sat-nav or printed route for unfamiliar journeys
  • Breakdown membership card

Winter emergency kit

  • Blanket, rug or sleeping bag
  • Shovel
  • Bits of carpet or thick cardboard to place under driven wheels to help regain traction on ice or snow
  • Salt, sand or cat litter – to help clear snow and ice
  • Reflective jacket(s)
  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • Torch and batteries
  • Tow rope
  • Snow chains (if you live in a remote or rural area)
  • Battery jump leads
  • Bottled water
  • Snacks – chocolate or cereal bars

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