by Alix Carman | 4 min read December 11th, 2018
It is important to give your vehicle regular TLC and maintenance checks to ensure road worthiness and safety whilst driving.
There are several benefits of keeping your vehicle well maintained;
- Reduces risk of breakdowns and vehicle deterioration.
- Increases Driver and Passenger safety.
- Reduces the chances of penalty points due to vehicle roadworthiness.
- Can improve the resale value.
- And most importantly it ensures that your vehicle meets the minimum standards.
We have put together a list of six basic vehicle checks that you can do to keep your car healthy and running smoothly.
Car tyre maintenance is one of the most important checks to make on your car regularly as they are the only contact point between road and car.
Visual Inspection – It is important to regularly take a walk around your vehicle and inspect all tyres to ensure they are in road worthy condition. The substantial things to keep a look out for are bulges, punctures, uneven tyre wear, tread depth and other small defects.
Tread Depth – The legal minimum requirement of tread depth on a vehicle is 1.6mm, however the Road Safety Authority recommend changing your tyres when they reach 3mm tread depth. Tread depth can be measured by looking at the tread depth indicator block; this notch can be used to indicate that the tread depth is not the same level or lower than the recommended tread depth of 1.6mm.
Tyre Pressure – Having your vehicles tyres inflated to the right pressure is another check you can carry out frequently. Find the recommended tyre pressure for the vehicle and load in the manufacturer handbook or from your local tyre centre and keep the pressure checked and maintained.
Click Here for the RSA guide to Tyre Safety.
Visibility is a key factor to road safety for both you as driver and also other road users, to make sure they can be seen and that they can see you. Not only is vehicle lighting important for safety and visibility it is also a legal requirement to have fully functional lights on your vehicle at all times.
Checking bulbs – There are many different lights around the vehicle and it is recommended to check them on a regular basis including headlights, brake lights, indicators, hazard lights, reverse light, fog lights etc. If you notice that a bulb is no longer working or starting to dim on its way out on your car you should have it replaced by a trusted mechanic immediately.
Cleaning light lenses – Along with keeping bulbs lit you must also make sure light lenses and reflectors are clean so they illuminate clearly. Whilst driving, your lights can gather dirt, cracks and scratches. If the lens is not clean it can cause operational lights to become dim making it harder to be seen by other road users.
Keeping a check on engine oil is a vital part of running a healthy engine. Checking the oil level in your car frequently can prolong the life of your engine as it acts as a lubricant to the internal moving parts. It is important that the oil level in your engine does not exceed or go below the minimum and maximum notches found on the engine oil dipstick.
It is also necessary to have your vehicle serviced by a dealer or trusted mechanic in accordance with the vehicle manufacturers handbook. Within the service it is recommended to request a full oil change and install a new oil filter.
The majority of cars come with the essentials needed in a breakdown emergency, which are usually located in the boot of the vehicle. However it is necessary to regularly check that all of the equipment is in place if a breakdown should occur.
Emergency Kit - Within your car you should carry some of the below items if not already included, in case of a breakdown or emergency;
- Reflective Hazard Triangle.
- Hi-Vis Vest/Jacket.
- First Aid Kit.
- Jump Leads.
- Car jack, Axle stands, wheel brace.
These are just a short list of things to carry, however it is recommended to expect the unexpected and be prepared for all eventualities along the journey.
Spare Tyre – In case of a flat tyre or blow out during a journey it is important to have a spare tyre at all times. It is vital to make sure the spare tyre is properly inflated, has the recommended tread depth and has no obvious wear or defects.
Click here to find out more about Allianz Breakdown Assistance.
The windscreen is your vehicles main point of visibility so it is important that it is clean and clear to see both in and out of. Examining Front and Rear wipers for wear is the first step to optimum visibility, some indicators of worn wiper blades are irregular fluctuations of sequence, unusual noises, usual loud screeching and streaks being left on the windscreen while wipers are in use.
It is also crucial to check that the window demisting/heating system is fully operational as it has a big impact on maintaining good windscreen visibility.
Keep aware of warning lights that may appear on your dashboard. These lights are warnings of errors or fault codes that have sent a message back to the main cars computer to let you know there is a possible problem or safety indicator.
Shown below is a dashboard where any warning lights can be found. Drivers should be aware of the different signs and symbols present on their dashboard so they can figure out the cause of a potential problem that may arise with their car.
If warning lights are showing it is recommended to have the vehicle checked by the car manufacturer’s garage or by your trusted local garage in order to find the cause of the issue.