Safety Checks

Motoring rescue organisations continually stress that 90 % of their millions of annual calls for help are a direct result of inadequate servicing.

More worrying is that nearly 5 % of all road accidents are directly attributable to mechanical failure so surely it makes common sense to give your car a regular check up.

If you do discover a fault get it fixed quickly before you are stranded with a broken down motor or, worse, in a hospital with a broken body because you failed to notice wear of a vital component.

Every sensible motorist should carry out brief checks of their car each time they get into it with a more thorough inspection being carried out weekly.

Each day :

  • Walk around the car ensuring all four wheels are fixed correctly and all 4 tyres correctly inflated. Cast your eye along the car to see if it is sagging - it could be due to a worn shock absorber, a real danger.
  • Check that all lights are clean and in working order, that the horn and wipers function properly and there is some fluid in the washer bottle.
  • Check all warning lights go out when the ignition key is released.

Once a week :

  • Check tyres are free of cuts and bulges, that there is a minimum 1.6 mm of tread over the full tyre width - 2mm is wiser - and that the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. If in doubt get them checked and replaced.
  • Ensure that the oil, automatic gearbox, brake, clutch and power steering fluid levels are all near the upper mark on their containers and top up if necessary.
  • With the engine cold, ensure that the coolant level is adequate. Most radiators now have plastic overflow bottles, check that the level is between the upper and lower marks on the container and top up - if necessary - with a mixture of anti-freeze and water.

If any of the above do not seem to be normal or you have warning lights illuminated on the dashboard which won't go out, DO NOT drive the car, consult your garage for advice as soon as possible.

If you are not confident that you can do all of these basic checks or, if you find any problems at all, most garages can offer servicing and carry out safety checks at very reasonable prices and advise on the costs of any repairs they find necessary.

There is a further check which is very important but often overlooked.

Regularly inspect all five seat belts to ensure that they are not frayed or damaged - particularly check any fixings or restraints to a child safety seat.

With the exception of some much older cars, most have 5 seat belts fitted and it is an offence - and just plain stupid - not to use them.

Rules on Children's seats in cars have recently changed... Make sure you are up to date.


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