Five top car safety checks
Five top car safety checks you can do at home
With most cars being inspected less frequently at a workshop, even the least technically-minded owner can (and has a responsibility to) perform a few simple walk around safety checks before a long journey.
Tyre Pressures – While checking tyre pressures is crucial, it is often impractical to carry out the procedure at home. If your car is not fitted with tyre pressure sensors that give a dashboard readout, you can purchase indicators that screw onto the tyre valve; most types turn red if the pressures drop below a pre-set safety threshold (pictured). Yet, they should not replace regular checks at an air pump.
Engine oil level – Sadly, you will have to raise the bonnet, to check the engine oil on most cars that possess a mechanical dipstick. Some cars have to do without, however, but the oil level can be checked from the comfort of your driver’s seat, on the main computer.
Brake fluid – Virtually every car is fitted with a low-level warning for brake fluid. However, the container is often translucent, meaning that the level can be checked at a glance. While it is normal for the level not to be at the maximum, ensure that it does not fall below the minimum and into the ‘danger’ zone.
Screen Wash, glazing and wipers – While it is difficult on most cars to check the level, without filling the reservoir to the brim, operate the screen washers before you set off, ensuring that there is no warning of a low level (an empty reservoir is illegal) and that the windscreen wipers clear the moisture effectively from the glass. Check that the glazing and all mirrors are clean and adjusted correctly.
Lights – Apart from verifying that there are no bulb failure warnings registered on your dashboard, check the operation of all exterior lights regularly. Reversing close to a window, or other reflective surface, will help you verify that all of the tail lights work.
While the list is small but important, should you notice any unusual instrument readings, smells, or noises, coming from the car, stop and seek expert assistance. Finally, we advise that every vehicle is serviced by a qualified technician annually, at least, even on cars that possess two year service schedules.