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Ask our Experts | Tech advice

Craig ask our experts

“What items should I have on-hand to carry out basic car maintenance and cleaning?”

Watch below as our experts share tips to caring for your car, and then continue to read their advice.

To keep your car in tip-top shape, the most useful thing to have is your owner’s manual, which features all the information you’ll need to successfully maintain your vehicle inside and out.

Next up, check your tool kit (the one that usually sits under the floor of the boot) to make sure it has all of the items it originally came with so you’re ready and able to change a tyre if you get a flat.

Especially for older vehicles, it’s not a bad idea to carry these items:

  • a litre or two of water;
  • assorted spare fuses and globes in case one of the exterior lights go out;
  • a tyre gauge;
  • some disposable gloves;
  • a torch;
  • a tarp or sheet (in case you need to get on the ground to check something); and
  • a rag or paper towel to help with fluid checks under the bonnet. 

These items may help you tackle minor problems if and when they occur, but for anything serious, you should go to a repairer.

When it comes to cleaning, a basic wash using a soft brush or sponge, car-wash liquid and clean water is all you need.

After washing, dry the car with a good-quality chamois, then apply a high-grade polish to protect the paint job.

It’s also a good idea to carry a chamois in the car with you, and dry the car with it after you’ve gone through an automated car wash to avoid water streaks.

Keeping your car’s interior neat and tidy can be just as simple; a clean, soft paint brush is perfect to dust vents and other hard-to-reach places around the dash, and your local auto retailer can help with cleaning agents designed to protect seat fabrics.

RAA’s free Technical Advisory Service can answer all your
niggling car questions. Give them a call on 8202 4689 or email

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Tech Advisory