It’s the start of the new year! Many of us have decided to go to the gym and stay fit. For others, the intention was there but never actually ended up going. Whatever the case, we understand it might be difficult to get into a routine. As you probably know, it’s important to stay healthy. But have you ever thought about ways to keep your car healthy? We want to ensure that both you and your car have the best start to the new year. So, here’s a little guide as to what you can do to keep both yourself and your car healthy.
Keeping yourself healthy
Let’s start with you. We know how tempting it can be to grab a packet of crisps before your journey or make a quick stop at the drive-thru. We’re here to put those temptations at rest and provide you with a much better (and healthier) solution:
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are the perfect in-car snack as they’re a natural source of vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre as well as healthy carbs – perfect for keeping you alert for driving! You can just pop them into a little tub or bag and will last in almost any kind of environment for long periods of time. Try to stay away from fried, salted or honey-glazed nuts as these contain unhealthy fats and artificial flavours. It’s also good to remember that a healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g or a small handful.
Fruit bars and nut bars are great for when you’re on-the-go as they’re easy to stash in your bag or car. You can find many bars that contain lots of dried fruit, nuts, protein and are low in sugar. Other bars may have more, or less fibre, depending on the ingredients. Try to stay away from bars that contain chocolate or yoghurt as these are high in sugars – and won’t stand well in heat.
There are many types of crackers that are full of nutrients, flavour and crunch – great for satisfying your hunger. From herb crackers to pita chips, there’s something that will appeal to everyone’s taste. Crackers are full of whole grains, so they’ll take longer to digest. This means that a few will last you until you reach your destination and keep your tummy happy!
Dried fruit is the perfect journey snack as it’ll boost your nutrient and fibre intake. Eating dried fruit will improve your health, and it doesn’t spoil quickly. From dried peaches to banana, apricot to mango, the selection is endless. Not only is it delicious, but it’s very easy to store. Just pop it into a zipper bag or pot and you’ll be off!
Although it may be obvious, water is the best thing to drink while driving. How many times have you needed to buy a bottle of water at a service station? Save yourself some money and bring water with you! A study at the Loughborough University shows that driving while dehydrated can be just as bad as drink driving. This is why its important to ensure you’re hydrated before you set off and take a bottle with you to stay alert. Jane Holdsworth, Director of the European Hydration Institute (EHI), said;
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that many drivers avoid drinking on long journeys to minimise bathroom stops, yet we know that even mild hydration can cause symptoms such as headache, tiredness and lethargy”
Keeping your car healthy
Now for your car. Most people use their cars every day, so it’s important that you show it some love and keep it running smoothly. If you properly maintain your vehicle, it will reduce any future repair costs, maintain its value and optimise its performance. So why wouldn’t you want to keep it in good condition? Here are a few things you can do to ensure that it runs as best as it can.
Check the engine oil
Nothing will destroy an engine quicker than abandoning oil levels and forgetting to top it up. Checking the oil levels will keep your engine running smoothly and ensure you get the most miles out of it. To check the oil level, locate the engine oil reservoir. Pull out the and wipe the dipstick. Insert the dipstick back in all the way and then pull it back out again. Look at where the oil is on the stick. It should be between the min and max markers. If it is below the min marker, you need to top the oil up.
Brake fluid is good at attracting moisture. Any moisture can cause components to corrode and fail. Be sure to change the brake fluid and bleed the system once every two years. This will increase your stopping ability. To check the brake fluid, you’ll need open the lid of the reservoir. Clean the top of the reservoir carefully, and then open the cap. Look to see where the fluid level lines are, they should be between the min and max markers. If the fluid is below the min marker, you must top it up with the correct brake fluid for your vehicle.
Make sure all of the lights on your car are sparkling clean by giving them a good scrub. Soapy water works fine but have you ever thought to use toothpaste? Apply toothpaste over the lights with a rag, or your fingers. Scrub gently with a toothbrush, dipping it in and out of warm water. After a good amount of scrubbing, the colour of the toothpaste should turn a darker colour. Rinse the toothpaste off with a clean rag and warm water.
You should check your car’s tyre pressure at least once a month. Not having the correct pressure will minimise your vehicle’s performance and put your personal safety at risk. Every vehicle has a different tyre pressure, so make sure you check your owner’s manual for yours. It is also important that you check the tread depth of your tyres. Place a 20p coin in the grooves between the tread. Around the circumference of the coin is a raised band. If this is visible, your tyres need to be replaced.
A great way to maintain the health of your car is to get it regularly serviced. It’s also important to book your MOT! Why not use our quick and easy online booking tool to do so?
Libby has been working for BookMyGarage writing articles, creating newsletters and handling the social media platforms. She works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts to provide weekly blogs: essential advice on how to care for your car, need-to-know news and developments in the motoring world and helpful tips on how to cut the costs of running and maintaining your car.