As a working Mum, blogger Emma Button from Parentwheels and Mellow Mummy struggles to find the time to schedule in regular car maintenance such as servicing, MOTs or tyre changes. Here Emma shares her tips for how to take the stress out of car maintenance when you are a working parent.
Since I became a parent, I’ve become increasingly protective of my weekends. Gone are the days when I used to spend the weekend waiting in garages on a Saturday morning, or making my car spotless both inside and out or simply taking it for a drive… just for fun. These days I prefer to spend my precious weekends at the playground, on a family day out or taking my girls to swimming lessons. In order to protect my weekends I’ve learned a few tricks which make the regular maintenance of my family vehicle that little bit easier.
1. Build basic car checks into your routine
Having to replace your spark plugs, top up your oil, coolant or windscreen washer fluid are all small jobs but as a parent, time is precious and little tasks like these build up. Rather than finding yourself with a long list of jobs that you should have done months ago, try building them into your weekly routine.
At the end of your working week, take 5 minutes to check the levels on your car (no need to wait until a warning light comes on) and top up anything that needs doing. Make yourself a promise that every few times you fill up with fuel you will quickly check the tyre pressures too.
2. Know your vehicle
Once you’ve built a regular routine of checking your car over you will quickly learn when to expect to need to replace or top up things like tyres or windscreen wipers. Once you start to learn about your car you can pre-empt problems so that there are no emergency trips that need to be made to the garage.
The more in tune with your car you can become, the more likely that it is you can notice and respond to problems. Trust your instinct; if there is a little niggle – it is better to get it looked at quickly than to wait until it becomes a problem and is more likely to be a 20 minute check-up than a 2-day overhaul. Being without a family car for two days is pretty hard work!
3. Plan ahead
If your car is due a service, MOT or tyre change make sure that you plan well ahead. Many garages (of all sizes) can help you and your family out with alternative travel options for the day such as a courtesy car or taxi service but you have to book well in advance. If you can arrange for your car maintenance on a weekday, this is a good way to avoid having to wait around in car service depots with your kids on a Saturday morning. Toddlers and garages are not a good mix – I can tell you from experience that 2.5 hours waiting for a service with a 2-year-old can push you to the edge of sanity.
4. Make use of mobile services
If your car needs a clean, or needs a change of tyres you don’t even have to lift a finger. Mobile tyre services such as etyres will come direct to your workplace or home. Having your tyres changes at a time which is convenient to you means that you can keep your weekends free.