Mechanics' advice for car owners

As part of our Tips From The Trades campaign, we asked a group of qualified mechanics to tackle a few myths around their profession, as well as revealing their best bits of advice for car owners on maintenance they could potentially do themselves.

For more Tips From The Trades, visit:http://www.swinton.co.uk/spotlight/driving/tips-from-the-trades/

What are the most common faults you find on cars?

Shaun: With a lot of the new systems that are on cars these days, quite a lot of the problems can just be simple electronic things, which we can sort  out using our diagnostic equipment. And then obviously you have your standard sort of wear and tear items like your brakes, tyres.

Daniel: Oil levels being incorrect, tyre pressures being being underinflated.

Mark: Brakes… tyre depths low and just general wear and tear, parts on the cars.

What could car owners do themselves?

Daniel: Well just regular maintenance checks certainly keeping it, keeping their, your eye on all the tyre pressures… 

Shaun: I like to try and recommend that you check your tyre pressure every time you fuel up really. So maybe once a week, twice a week maybe, depending on what sort of journeys you’re doing.

Daniel: …tyre depths is also a very important thing you know, police like to keep a keen eye out on tyre depths…

Mark: …they want to be checking their oil level, dipstick just check it, there’s a mark on there what tells you minimum/maximum…the coolant…  

Daniel: …checking lights every now and again doesn’t hurt. Checking your brake lights you know, make sure your brake lights are working is very important…

Mark: …anything what needs topping up with water will have a blue cap and then your oil obviously has a picture of an oil can so you can’t really get it wrong.

Daniel: …all these things are quite easy to do at home but not quite as regularly checked as what they should be you know.

Why are some owners worried about taking their cars to a mechanic?

Shaun: The biggest myth about my job is that a mechanic is just some dirty person that’s meant to rip you off…

Daniel: I think it’s got to be the cowboy mechanics…

Mark: Just general I think being too expensive and overpriced…

Do you think any of that is true?

Shaun: …it’s not true at all…

Mark: …none of its true.

Daniel: …we’re all pretty straightforward, straight-talking guys.

Shaun: …people think that we’re here just to purely rip people off, we’re not, we’re here to keep you safe, to keep the road safe, and you know, stop you from occurring a bigger cost in the long run.

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