As a driver, it is your responsibility to do the necessary checks on your vehicle to ensure your safety while travelling on the road. You’ve learned a lot during your practical driving test and from studying and learning everything on the theory test but don’t presume the only thing you need to do now is to top up your petrol and drive off. Here’s five things you need know to make sure you car is ready for the road to avoid breakdowns or even being pulled over by the police…
One of the basic things that you need to check is your tyre pressure. Most people neglect to do this presuming that they’ll be able to see if they’re looking flat but that can be a risky business. You need to check the correct pressure for the tyres on your vehicle and that may differ depending on the load and number of passengers you are carrying. It’s fairly simple and can be done while filling up your fuel at most petrol stations. Try to check your pressure as regularly as possible, anything from a clipped kerb to a nail or stone in the road can cause you to lose pressure and leave you driving around on a potential hazard.
Your engine oil level is something else to keep a close eye on. Check the oil level using a dipstick at least every two weeks and before going on long journeys. Top it up if necessary but be aware that regular instances of low oil levels could indicate underlying engine problems that need to be checked over at a garage. Have your filter changed every now and again too to make sure you are running smoothly.
When we talk about lights, this doesn’t just mean your headlights – which are pretty easy to monitor. You must also check the rest of your lights, including the warning lights on the dashboard. It’s well worth running a quick of your headlights, fog lamps, flash lights, and signal lights as well as a check to see if all the icons on the dashboard light up. It won’t take long and can all be done in the safety of your drive o you don’t have a nasty surprise well into your journey.
Pop your hood and check your battery. Things to look out for include the connection and if the battery is free of corrosion. If you find that that corrosion is present, you can clean it off by mixing baking soda and water to form a paste. Use the paste to clean the corroded areas until they are clear. Rinse the area afterwards. If you are in doubt, consult a professional.
Always check to see if you have a toolkit in your boot – and that it’s well stocked. You never know when you might run into car trouble, which is why it is important to always be prepared. The toolkit should have a warning sign, a jack, jump leads, gloves and a flashlight.