Although I don’t physically drive myself, Paul and I have had a few cars since we have been together. And even as a passenger, you learn quite a lot about what to look out for. Lately, we have had a few cars as one, which was temporarily given to us, had some issues. So, I thought it would be useful for those who drive or are simply passengers or even soon to be car owners to have some tips on what to look for with car maintenance.
Has the car been maintained before you purchased it?
Are you looking after your car?
Is your partner looking after theirs?
Here are three main things you need to look out for.
CAR TYRE SAFETY
Tyre maintenance and upkeep can be expensive. However, they should be properly checked and maintained before purchasing and during ownership.
Does your tyre have enough tread?
Point S tyre dealers through the UK (as well as many others) not only sell tyres for your car, caravan, van etc. but many dealers also offer specialist advice on how to keep your tyres and car safe for the road.
One of the most common things that gets overlooked is tyre tread. Tyre tread is basically the grip your car has to the road. Those little grooves are the tread and how you can tell how much grip your tyre has to the road. It’s important that you check your tyre tread regularly on all tyres. The legal limit is at least 1.6mm but going below 3mm is risky.
You can get a tyre gauge to give you a quick and easy measurement or Tread Wear Indicator. You can also do the 20p test. Place a 20p coin into the main grooves. If the outer band of the 20p is hidden then your tyre is above the legal limit. If you can see the band around the 20p, it’s time to get them replaced.
When your tyre tread is below the legal limit, you could face three penalty points and a £2,500 fine per tyre.
Part-worn or brand new?
It’s strongly recommended that when purchasing replacement tyres you get new ones and not part-worn. Although it cheaper, you are going to use them for a shorter period of time before they have no read left. There are certain legal obligations that must be followed by retailers who sell part worn tyres. You can read more about them here.
As well as checking that your tyres have the legally recommended tread be sure to check for other wear and tear such as cuts or tears. Checking all of the tyres on both sides as well as the rims is important for making sure they are safe before travel.
Checking your tyre pressure
Tyre pressure is what indicates how much air is in them. Without air, they won’t work. It’s important you check the pressure on al your tyres at least once a month especially before long journeys, carrying heavy loads or in the cold, ensuring they are correctly inflated. Every car has an operating manual which will help you in finding the correct pressure that you need.
There have been so many incidences where we have been on the road and there has been a car with no lights on. This, for obvious reasons, can be incredibly dangerous in dark or foggy conditions.
The lights are what tell other road users you are there and what you are doing. If you’re going to turn, indicate. If you’re slowing down, use your breaks and not just taking the pressure off the accelerator. Without working lights, you can confuse other road users as well as passengers.
One experience we witnessed was a car owner with permanent reverse lights on… Which needless to say is confusing for those around him including Paul and me. Which is why it is so important for drivers to ensure all of their lights not only work but work properly.
ON THE LEVEL
Water, engine oil and screen wash should all be checked often.
Water needs to be checked once a week whilst your engine is cold and off. The water cools the engine of the car so it is incredibly important it is checked to ensure the engine doesn’t overheat.
Engine oil should be looked at every couple of weeks and before long journeys using the dipstick. If you are topping the oil up more than you usually do it is advised to have a mechanic check the car over. Engine oil lubricates the engine as well as keeping it cool along with the water.
As for screen wash, it is the law that you have a screen wash system that works. Having a wash that prevents grime and freezing is incredibly useful. A clean windscreen is what will assist you visually on the road.
Other items to check:
- Is there an airbag? Does it work?
- Ensure your Check Engine light isn’t on.
- Do all safety belts work and buckle in properly.
- All mirrors should be intact to ensure you can see behind your vehicle.
- Check for stone damage on your windscreen. A small crack and split and smash when driving in cold weather or over bumpy roads.
Obviously, it is important to check all aspects of your car to ensure it is at its safest. If you’re ever unsure, visit a specialist who can help and offer professional advice. Don’t leave it to chance,
THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH POINT S