For any new driver, one of the most important things to learn is basic car maintenance. With the high prices at your local garage, you don’t want to have to take your car there for even the most simple of adjustments. It’s also worth bearing in mind that everyday maintenance techniques can avoid the need for major repairs later in some cases.


Checking and topping up fluids is one vital element of maintaining a car but you should be careful about some of the claims that are made. Some car spares outlets will try to sell you additives and parts that are not necessary. Here are three of the products that you should look out for.


Fuel Additives

Manufacturers of these products tend to make very ambitious claims with regard to how more fuel efficient these additives can make your car. They’ll tell you that many miles per litre can be added and that you’ll save money even after the initial cost.


In reality, tests on these additives have shown little in the way of improvements, particularly when it comes to dealing with engine knocking – one of the issues that these products claim to tackle effectively. The truth is that if you happen to experience engine knocking then you should have your vehicle looked at by a qualified mechanic. Regular maintenance and attention to these issues will make your car far more fuel efficient than any additives ever will.


Coolants to Extend Radiator Life

In order to keep your engine running at its best you will need to use a correct mixture of water and coolant. Naturally, this will help to keep your engine cool during the hot summer months, but in the coldest depths of winter the right combination will also stop the water in your radiator from freezing.


Coolant also prevents corrosion and some products are sold on the basis that they have a corrosion inhibitor that prolongs the life of your radiator. In many cases, these claims are perfectly valid but not all products are suitable for every make of car.


You certainly can extend your radiator’s life by using these coolants but it is imperative that you check your vehicle’s manual and make sure they are compatible before you use them.


Oil Additive Products

Products such as these are aimed at drivers with older, higher-mileage cars when the vehicle in question isn’t necessarily fuel or oil efficient. The claim is that the additive improves the quality of the oil and therefore may help to extend the car’s life.


Tests, however, have shown that this isn’t the case and in some instances products such as these could even damage your engine. Making regular oil changes and ensuring that you don’t drive with dangerously low oil levels can be a far more effective approach.

With many of these products, a better and cheaper alternative is to use regular maintenance techniques. Overall, it pays to understand what your car doesn’t need as much as what it does.


This article was written on behalf of Fincar.