We all love our cars. We spend a huge amount of cash each year on them, either in maintenance, petrol or car finance repayments. This should make us want to take care of our vehicles, so they don’t throw up any issues down the road. A car is composed of mechanical and electrical components and systems. Some of these practically require no-to-little maintenance and some may require regular, periodic maintenance. Even new cars need attention, so it is important that every car owner is literate about which safety checks need to be done to their car and when they need to be done. This will prevent unnecessary breakdowns and will ensure that the car owner, and passengers are safe when on the road.
To start, park your car on level ground and turn the engine off. Release the bonnet, lift it up then do these simple checks.
Check the fluid levels
There are lots of different fluids flowing around the car. Engine coolant, oil, brake fluid and windscreen washer fluids are just a few. The most important are generally easy to check, and should be checked weekly if possible.
Engine oil is there to lubricate and clean the engine, and a lack of it will result in the engine wearing down much quicker than it should be. This can lead to expensive repairs, so it’s very important to check and make sure there’s enough oil in the system. To check the engine or motor oil level, pull the dip stick (usually with a yellow handle) wipe it off, then replace it again for a couple of seconds and remove once more. The oil level must be between the upper and lower level mark (which is usually a flattened part of the dipstick). If it is near the lower end of the mark, you may need to add engine oil.
All others have fluid levels with a minimum and maximum mark too, to make it easy to see what might need attention at a glance. For example, there will usually be a see-through plastic tank where you can check your engine coolant. This is another vital part to check, as if you don’t have enough coolant in the system, your car can overheat, resulting in you pulled over on the hard shoulder with smoke emanating from under the bonnet. Keep in mind, however, that due to high pressures and temperatures, don’t attempt to open the coolant compartment until the car has been given time to cool down.
Check The Tyres
Tyres need to be regularly checked to maintain the correct tyre pressure. An under-inflated tyre is prone to overheating, and one which is over-inflated can lead to steering problems on the road. It is generally recommended that you check your tyres at least once a month, and there are hefty fines in place if your tyres are deemed unroadworthy. You will find the recommended pressure inside your owner’s manual, and most petrol stations offer a pressure gauge and air dispenser so it’s all very convenient and should only take a few minutes! Finally, don’t forget to check the spare tyre in the back, it may come in handy.
It’s also important to check the tread on the tyres. On the tread, most tyres have bars moulded on near the bottom called “Tread Wear Indicator Bars”. If the tread is worn to these bars, the tyre needs to be changed. If you can’t tell, just head to a local garage and usually a mechanic will be happy to help you.
There are many more checks that you can do on your car for extra safety and security, but if you do these regularly, you’ll know that the car can get you home.