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Putting your car into top shape for 2020

Published:Sunday | January 5, 2020 | 12:00 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

Is your motor vehicle ready for the New Year bearing in mind the large volume of vehicles on our streets daily? “Certainly, the basis of a well-maintained car is a well- tuned engine.” Says Kurt Harding, an experienced auto mechanic. “The glistening body work, the lush upholstery, and an engine that operates at full efficiency is the way to go.”

There are several aspects of a car that you need to observe. If you do not feel confident that have a qualified auto mechanic do the checks.

1. Check the tyres for uneven wear and tear as this may indicate poor wheel alignment.

2. Test the shock absorbers, and look for play in the steering wheel.

3. Let the engine idle and watch the exhaust pipe.

4. If you spot blue smoke, look elsewhere because the engine is burning oil.

5. Poor wiring can cause unending headaches, so take a good look under the instrument panel. Does it appear that rats live there?

6. Go underneath and examine the undercarriage of the car.

7. Pull the dipstick out and check the condition of the lubricant.


Some basic maintenance and cleaning tips

1. Have the oil changed regularly. Your car manual will specify how often it should be done.

2. Check all the fluids, including brake, power steering, transmission, and windshield washers.

3. Check the air-pressure level in your tyres at least once a month.

4. Check and replace windshield wiper blades if they become tired, cracked, or worn.

5. Inspect the engine belts for cracks and missing segments.

6. Regularly wash the exterior of the motor car. It will ensure the long life of the vehicle. “It could be considered the first line of defense against the dirt, salt, and other contaminants that vehicle picks up daily.” Says Winston Jackson, CEO of Wash and Shine.

7. Park your car in a shady spot or wash it on a cloudy day. If the car is not kept cool while washing, the water will evaporate too quickly and possibly leave spots.

8. “Use a car wash shampoo specifically created for automotive use” advises Jackson. “Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for the right shampoo-to-water ratio.”

9. Use a natural sea sponge, cotton chenille pad, or sheepskin mitt for washing your car’s surface.

10. Start washing from top down and rinse the car often. After drying the glass, try polishing it with crumpled newspaper. Unlike paper towels, newsprint does not leave ink behind and the ink acts as a polish.

11. A regular application of wax is the best way to protect your motor car from rain, road salt, pollution, and bird droppings.

12. The inside of the car should be kept spick and span says Ramone Jeffrey owner of Jordache Hands & Foam Wash. “Dirt, salt, stones that the feet drag from the outside, plus cigarette smoke, paper refuse, and crumbs should be removed every time the car is washed.”

13. Vacuum the floors, fabric upholstery, and mats. Rubber mats can be scrubbed with soapy water. Ensure that they are properly dried before returning to their places.

14. Vacuum under the seats. Use a narrow hose-end attachment to get into crevices.

15. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the dash board area. Clean the inside of the glass with dry paper towel and non- ammonia glass cleaner. When dry, polish it with crumpled newspaper.