A Comprehensive and Practical Car Safety Checklist
With so many moving parts in a car, checking and maintaining your vehicle regularly can add years to its life. Most car owners want to enjoy their car for a long time, so to make this happen, it’s important to have a car safety checklist to guide you in ensuring that your vehicle is maintained in good condition. With this checklist, you don't have to guess and ask, "what should I check on my car regularly?" Let’s take a look at the essential checks you can easily perform to have a stress-free driving experience. 👍
Before going on a trip or even just a short drive, checking your fuel level is a must. Don’t wait for your car to get on a dangerously low fuel level before filling up. You don’t necessarily have to have a full tank, especially if you’re only driving in the city. However, you might want to fill up your tank with enough fuel so that you don’t have to worry about running on empty. And doing this can cause damage to the engine.
But what if you have an electric car? In this case, make sure you recharge the batteries whenever you get home so that your vehicle will be ready for your next drive. For any type of vehicle, you may also want to map out where you can refuel or recharge if you’re going on a long journey. This will help you have a smooth driving experience and alleviate the worry of running out of charge!
Tyre Tread Depth
Driving with worn tyres will negatively impact the vehicle’s handling and braking. Also, it’s dangerous and illegal to drive a car with worn-out tyres. If the tyre tread depth goes below 1.6mm, then you’ll be breaking the law and endangering yourself and other road users.
It 's a great idea to have a measuring gauge so you can check the tyre tread depth regularly and especially before a long drive or if the weather conditions are not so good. If the tread depth is somewhere between 1.6mm and 3mm, you may want to consider get your tyres replaced before too long, so you don’t have to worry about them whilst driving.
And don't forget that tyres don't necessarily wear down uniformly, so check more than one area of the tyre. It they are wearing quite a bit unevenly, it might be worth getting your "tracking" checked at your local tyre supplies outlet to help a more even wear. It doesn't cost too much and will save you money in the long run if you don't have to replace your tyres so soon.
And keep a look out for cracking, cuts or splitting of the tyres, which can happen too. Your MOT should look out for these too as sometimes they are on the inside tyre wall and so not easily visible.
Ensuring that your car tyres have the right pressure is important so that the vehicle can steer, grip, and brake properly. If the tyres are under or overinflated, it will affect how you drive your car. You may want to get a tyre pressure gauge so you can easily check the pressure. But most petrol stations have an air pressure machine you can use for a small charge (so keep some coins on hand!)
If you drive a newer car, then you only have to check the monitoring system of the vehicle to know if the tyre pressures are correct. Not sure what’s the right pressure for the tyres? You can easily find it in the owner’s manual or even on the panel inside the driver’s door.
Every light of your vehicle is important. They allow you to see the road when it’s dark, raining, snowing, or if there’s fog. Also, the lights warn other road users if you’re slowing down, reversing, turning left or right, or if you’re having a car problem. Make sure that all of your car lights are functioning properly.
If you observe that some of your lights are not as bright anymore, get them checked, repaired, or replaced if needed so that you won’t have to reach the point where they become faulty as you’re driving. You can also do it yourself if you want, but getting your car lights fixed at a garage isn’t such a big expense anyway, so it might be better for you to have a professional do it. Some might even do it for just the cost of the bulb.
The engine coolant is an essential component of your vehicle because it keeps your engine healthy. It regulates the temperature by cooling the system, as its name implies. Some newer models no longer need topping up because they have closed cooling systems.
If you have an older car, then it’s more likely that you’re going to need to check the coolant level regularly so you can top it up as often as necessary. And just like the fuel level, don’t let the coolant level go beyond the minimum.
Oil is another important fluid for your car since it’s the one responsible for making the engine run smoothly. If your car runs out of oil, it can cause the engine to stop running and may even significantly damage it. Whenever you’re checking your car, don’t forget to pull up the oil dipstick, wipe it and re-insert it, then you’ll be able to get a correct reading to know if you need to top it up. And do this when the engine is cold.
For newer vehicles, it’s easier to check the oil level just by looking at the dashboard. Whichever way works with your car, what’s important is that you check the oil level often and refill with just the right amount since putting too much oil isn’t healthy for the engine either. Go through the owner’s manual if you’re not sure about how much oil the car needs.
It’s easy to neglect the windscreen wipers on days when the weather is great. However, if it’s rainy or snowy and your wipers don’t function well, then it becomes a big problem because you won’t be able to see the road clearly. Before any trip, make sure that the wipers work properly and that the screen wash is also filled with the right fluid.
While you’re testing the wipers, you may also want to check the windscreen for any chips or cracks. Even the smallest crack can be dangerous because it weakens the glass. If you find any chips on your windscreen, go to your local garage so that it can be repaired or replaced if needed. Ignoring cracks may lead to your windscreen shattering while you’re driving.
Having a car safety checklist is not only to prolong the life of your vehicle but also to prevent any accidents while you’re on the road. Remember that it’s also your responsibility as a car owner to make sure that your vehicle is roadworthy so that you and other road users can safely arrive at your respective destinations without incident. Safe driving! 😊