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Mechanical failure or poor vehicle maintenance can not only end up becoming very expensive to repair, but it can also cause road accidents. There are several car safety checks that you can carry out yourself to prevent accidents or breakdowns. Regularly maintaining your car in between your car’s MOT service can save you money and help to keep you and other road users safe.
Car lights are an important safety feature. They allow you to see in the dark or difficult weather, they allow other road users to see you in the dark or difficult weather and they inform other road users of where you are heading.
The lights you need to check are:
To check your lights we recommend putting them on, then having another person walk around the car to check them all. If you don’t have anyone else available to check, then make sure that your handbrake is on and your gear stick is in neutral. Then walk around the car to check the lights.
Every time you go in the car, you must check that you have enough fuel for the journey. Running on low fuel could cause several issues for your car so we recommend refilling your fuel tank before it runs too low.
It is important to check your tyre tread, the tyre pressure and also check your tyres over for any signs of cuts and damages. Worn tyres can increase your stopping distance and reduce grip on the road, especially in wet weather conditions. The legal tyre tread depth is 1.66mm across the central 3/4 of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre, however, 3mm is recommended. To check your tyre tread depth, you can use the 20p test which is where you place a 20p coin into the tyre groove, if you can see the outer band of the coin your tyre tread depth is below the legal limit. Alternatively, you can use a tread depth gauge.
To find the correct tyre pressure, you can refer to the car manual. Then measure your tyre pressure using a pressure gauge.
Motor oil lubricates the different moving parts of your car’s engine. Letting your oil level get too low can cause damage to your engine and your car. Simply check that your oil level is in between the min and max mark on the dipstick.
Coolant regulates the car engine’s temperature to prevent it from overheating or freezing. When your engine is completely cooled down, check the coolant level is in between the minimum and maximum mark on the side of the expansion tank. If it is below, top-up using the correct coolant and ratio.
Windscreen wipers eventually become less effective and need replacing if they split. We recommend changing your windscreen wipers every 12-24 months. It’s also important to check your screen wash level regularly. Checking that washer fluid is anti-freeze is important during winter to prevent it from becoming frozen and not working.
It’s important to regularly check your brake fluid level as a low brake fluid level can reduce the effectiveness of your brakes. To check your brake fluid level, find the plastic brake master cylinder reservoir and check that the brake fluid level is up to the recommended fill line. It’s important to be careful when checking this as brake fluid is corrosive.
A key indication that your brakes need checking or replacing is your car warning light which will appear on your car dashboard. However, not all cars have a a brake pad sensor fitted. Check out our blog post to find out more about the other key indicators your brakes aren’t working properly.
Check that your engine starts properly the first time. If it struggles to start, get it checked out at a garage, it may need replacing. Also, check your battery for any signs of corrosion.