What's under the bonnet?

April 30th, 2012 in Car Maintenance Tips


Do you know what is under the bonnet of your car?

So I very very rarely used to open up my car bonnet, I used to have absolutely no idea what was going on in there! To me it just looked like a big confusing jumble. But when I started to learn all about my car, I realised how important it is to regularly check that everything is actually working properly under there.

This part of my blog will hopefully save you some unnecessary trips to the garage, if you can understand how parts of your car work then you can check things for yourself.

Firstly, open the bonnet by pulling the latch that is usually located next to the drivers seat. When you lift up the hood there may be a rod or lever at the very front or side that you can lift up and insert the tip into the underside of the hood to hold it up securely.

The engine oil:

The engine oil is the most important part to check on a regular basis, an engine can’t run without oil even for a few minutes without serious damage or complete destruction. When you check your engine oil, the first and most important thing to do is switch the engine off and make sure the car is cool. Once the engine if off, have a look for the engine oil dipstick. It is usually easy to get to and should have an orange handle. It will say OIL on it, once you have found it, pull it out and wipe it clean with a towel. You will usually see a mark for “Full” and one for “Add”. Once it is clean, re-insert it in all the way in, then pull it out again to see the oil level, but don’t tip it upside down. You should not add any oil unless the level is below the “Add” mark, and never add more oil so that it is above the “Full” mark.

This should only take 5 minutes to check, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. This will also be checked and changed during your M.O.T and service.

Checking the coolant in the water reservoir container: (It is important to do this so that your car doesn’t over heat.)

Once the bonnet of your car is up, look for the plastic container marked with a water symbol. You will see that it is marked with minimum and maximum levels, when your engine is cold, the level should be at maximum. Look into the hole to see how much water/coolant is in the radiator. If it is filled to maximum then you have nothing to worry about, but if is is lower then you will need to add water and anti-freeze.

This shouldn’t happen in-between your M.O.T and services but if it does:

Prepare a mix of 50% water and 50% of antifreeze, you need anti-freeze in your engine all year round. Antifreeze helps to remove the heat from the engine, while preventing rust build up in the radiator system. It protects water in the radiator system against freezing, and increases the boiling point of the water in the radiator system.

Unscrew and top the container up to the maximum level with your anti-freeze water mix. Don’t add tap water to your radiator as it could have impurities in it that may be bad for your engine.

Checking the washer fluid:

Wiper fluid doesn’t affect the performance of your car, but it is what comes out when you use the sprayers to clean your windshield while driving. the reason why you should re-fill your wiper fluid is that you do not want to get into a situation where you find that you don’t have any washer fluid. If you don’t have any you can’t clean off your windshield in the event of something clouding your view of the road. The reservoir cap usually is designed to screw on and off, just add washer fluid until the fluid level reaches the “full” mark. You should pay attention to the kind of windshield washer fluid you use, some are concentrated, which means that you need to mix them with water before adding them to the reservoir.

Hope this helps and makes the main parts of what is under your bonnet a bit easier to understand.

If you want any information about other parts under your bonnet, just leave a comment/question and I can answer if for you

Charlotte :-)