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We’ve all walked into a car repair centre to collect our vehicle after it’s had some work only to be met with a barrage of terms that we barely understand, let alone know where they are and what they do on our cars.

This is why we have pulled together this guide, to help you feel confident when talking to your mechanic and understand what needs to be done to keep your car in top condition.

MOT Check

An annual MOT Check is a legal requirement once a car reaches three years old and must be carried out to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy. During an MOT, important parts on your vehicle are checked to make sure they meet the minimum standard, such as the tyres, lights and brakes.

You have the right to watch your MOT Check be carried out and, once complete, you will receive a report with a pass or fail, as well as any advisories – things to keep an eye on – that may need some attention.

Brake pads

Brake pads are what apply the pressure to bring your car to a stop when you press the brake pedal. Most cars’ brakes consist of two parts, the callipers and the pads. The callipers squeeze the pads against the wheel to slow them down, and this causes wear on the pads meaning they eventually need to be replaced.

Listen out for noisy, squeaky brakes. This is the first sign they need to be replaced.

Spark plug

A spark plug is a vital part of a car’s ignition system. Its main function is to create a spark that lights the air/fuel mix in the engine. They are located in different places on different cars but always serve the same function.

If you notice a spike in the amount of fuel your car is using or it has difficulty starting then it may be a sign that the spark plugs need replacing.

Radiator

A car’s radiator doesn’t work as you would expect the one in your house to. It doesn’t supply heat. It is instead a vital component for engine cooling, keeping the engine coolant at an optimal temperature so that it can perform correctly.

If you spot a coolant leak or your car begins to overheat, this may represent a radiator problem that needs investigating.

Shock absorbers

The shock absorbers are metal bars that sit by the wheels. Their main purpose is to stop your car bouncing and keep it stable whilst driving. If your car begins to feel loose and floaty, or lurches forward on its front wheels whilst braking, you may need to get your shock absorbers replaced.  

Dipstick

This is a device located under the bonnet that allows you to check your oil level. Knowing how to check the cars oil level is vital to keeping it in smooth working order, protecting the engine.