Having a cheap and cheerful car is a great way to get around when you’re a student, but sometimes a breakdown or a performance problem with your vehicle can see you forced to shell out money on an unanticipated expense that may leave you out of pocket. Luckily, there are ways to maintain your car in order to prevent these types of lower-level repairs from being required. What’s more, these maintenance tips can be carried out at low cost, so you can stay well within your living budget when looking after your motor. Here are some of our best tips for maintaining your car on the cheap.

Change your wiper blades

You can underestimate the value of sparkling windows on your vehicle. When windscreen wiper blades have been in use for too long, they no longer wipe the moisture from your front window effectively, which can lead to the accumulation of dirt on the glass. Allowing dirt to build up on your windscreen can cause the glass to lose clarity over time, so it’s important to change your wiper blades regularly to prevent your vehicle from looking grubby, as well as potentially being unsafe to operate.

Wiper blades are cheap enough to purchase, but some may be intimidated about fitting the replacement blades themselves. Fear not, as the process is not at all complicated, and this Instructables how-to guide will make the task even easier.

Read the instruction manual

Motorists can wait days before addressing a warning light on their dashboard, and this is very strange given that these lights could indicate something seriously wrong with your vehicle. An efficient way to learn the meaning of these lights would be to read your car manual, as different models of vehicles sometimes carry different symbols. You should always travel with your car’s manual stored somewhere in the vehicle.

Use additives

Making use of fuel additives could keep your car in much better condition in the long term, especially as the chemicals are relatively inexpensive to purchase and go a long way. These additives will help to reduce harmful exhaust emissions which will not only aid the environment but also effectively detox your vehicle. Depending on the type of engine that your car has, you will either need to use a petrol or diesel additive; a great selection of these additives is available at car specialist Autosessive, where there is a large additives section so you can choose the correct product for your vehicle.

Keep an eye on your tyres

While tyres are something that inevitably need to be replaced, many motorists neglect to check whether their tyre treads are within the scope of legality. The legal minimum depth of the tread on your tyres should be 1.6 millimetres. If your tread is any lower than this, you could face a fine of up to £2,500. Most car manufacturers actually recommend that you replace your tyres when they have three millimetres of tread left, as anything thinner could compromise the handling of the vehicle, which can lead to major problems.

Following these simple, effective and affordable tips will improve the longevity of your car and reduce the number of dreaded visits to the mechanic.