How Do I Check My Used Car is Safe?

If you’ve recently bought a used car, then you know how important it is to check the vehicle thoroughly before making the purchase. Once you’ve made the decision to buy it, the next crucial step is making sure the car is well-maintained so that you can enjoy it for a good number of years. But how do you check that your used car is safe? Here are some key steps to remember when performing car checks. 


How’s the condition of your car from the outside? Visually inspect the exteriors regularly so you can spot any damage. Also, wash your vehicle regularly, particularly in bad weather when the salt on icy roads can cause corrosion. 

What’s very important is that the brake lights, headlights, and windows are all clean and clear before you drive your car. Keep in mind that leaving them dirty will make it difficult for you to see the road, road signs, other vehicles, and pedestrians, and also difficult for other drivers to see you - making your driving unsafe. 


You may ask what clean interiors have to do with keeping your car safe. Actually, keeping your interiors clean is just as important as keeping any part of your car clean and properly maintained. While you’re driving, you wouldn’t want distractions, right? 

But what if your car is full of trash like empty bottles, take-away containers, files and papers, and other things that might roll or get stuck under the pedals? That can be very dangerous. Keep your car safe by keeping a tidy space while you’re driving. 

Air Conditioning

Regardless of the temperature, you’d want to make sure that the air conditioning unit of your vehicle works well. It should be able to function properly when you need it to. You may visually inspect the pipework of the air conditioning unit but if you need more work done on it, then it’s a must that you call a professional with the right equipment to perform any repairs.  Many garages offer free add-ons of air conditioning checks when you get your MOT or service done.

The usual problem of many car owners is that the air conditioning unit doesn’t do much in cooling the vehicle on hotter days. If this is the case with your car, there might be an issue with the air conditioning system and re-gassing might be necessary. It will take a specialist to work on this kind of problem so take it to a reliable expert. 


Anyone who drives a car knows the importance of having brakes that work but it’s still necessary to point out that your brakes need to be well-maintained at all times. A little neglect can potentially cause an accident while you’re on the road. So, take the time to check the brakes regularly. 

You may start with the brake fluid and see whether it needs topping up. If you’re not sure about this procedure, you may consult the vehicle handbook. But to be safe and sure, it might be a better idea to take your car to a garage where a professional can take care of checking the brakes as well as changing or topping up the brake fluid.  These are items they should check on your annual service.

Spark Plug for Petrol Cars

If you have a petrol engine vehicle, it will be beneficial for you if you learn how to replace a spark plug whenever you reach the 30,000-mile mark. Neglecting this part of your car will result in engine misfires and other issues. It’s worth investing in the proper tools if you plan on replacing the spark plug yourself. Take time to read the vehicle handbook to know the specific procedure for your vehicle.  But again this will be looked at by your garage at the appropriate service. 

Engine Air Filter

Keep your car fuel-efficient by making sure that the engine air filter is clean and not faulty. If the filter is left clogged, then you may start to notice that your engine has reduced power. Auto mechanics would tell you that it’s wise to replace the engine air filter every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.  Another service action your garage will perform if you don't feel competent to attempt this!


This is one you will need to become familiar with and perform regularly yourself. The screenwash is often forgotten because it may seem unimportant. However, it’s a crucial part of your car because you need it to clear away snow, grit, dirt, and even pollen and bugs. Remember that your windscreen needs to be clean at all times so that you will have a clear view of the road and other vehicles and pedestrians. Check the screenwash level regularly and top it up with the right fluid as needed. Follow the dilution instructions on the bottle according to the time of year. 


Your vehicle relies heavily on a properly working electronic system. For example, if the wiring of your headlights has problems, it will be dangerous for you to drive in the dark because the headlights might not work. If you suspect that your car has electronic issues, take it to a trusted garage so it can be checked by experts. 

The battery needs to be assessed as well to see if the terminals are tight and clean and without any corrosion. If the battery is already more than four years old, then it might go flat anytime soon. So you might want to think about getting it replaced before that happens. 


To ensure that your used car is safe, don’t forget to check the coolant level. It’s important that the car has enough coolant so that it won’t overheat on hot days. Even on cold days, it also prevents the engine from freezing. That’s why it’s a must to check your coolant, especially if you’re heading out on a long journey. On modern cars you will usually get a warning if it's getting low.

Oil and Fuel

These two are among the most important things to check before you take your car for a drive. Of course, you need enough fuel so that you won’t end up in the middle of the road with an empty tank. As for the oil, if it gets really low, it can cause your car to break down and even damage your vehicle. You may already know this and it may seem obvious but keep these two on the list of what to check to ensure your used car is safe.  Ignoring a low oil warning could be a costly mistake!


If you want to get the most value out of your used car and drive it for a long time, make sure that you keep it well-maintained. Take it to your trusted auto mechanic regularly for servicing so that they can check if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. It would also give you that peace of mind whenever you drive your car knowing that you’ll be safe while on the road. 😀🚘