Whether you drive a fancy car with all the bells and whistles, or you drive an old bomb, it’s still important to make sure your car is as safe as it can possibly be. Give it a regular check, and if you see anything that looks a bit off, have chat with an expert.
Things you can check before you hit the road
Tyres – these are the only point of contact your car has with the road, so it’s important your tyres are up to scratch:
- Check the depth of the tread – the minimum legal depth is 1.5mm, but the more tread you have the better the grip and the safer you’ll be.
- Check your tyre pressure – the correct levels can be found on the inside of your door frame.
- Look for cracks or bubbles in the sides.
- Look for sharp objects stuck in the tyres.
Windscreens, wipers and mirrors:
- Check your wiper blades for wear and tear.
- Clean your mirrors and windscreen inside and out.
- Get your windscreen fixed if it’s chipped or cracked.
- Check that your windscreen washer fluid is full and the spray is working.
Indicators – these are the only communication method you have with other drivers, so it’s important they are working well. Turn your hazard lights on and walk around your car – check that they’re all flashing.
Rust – look for obvious areas of rust that can weaken your car’s structure.
- Check your headlights are clean and not cracked or hazy. If you’ve got hazy headlights, give them a good scrub with toothpaste and an old toothbrush – they’ll come up good as new.
- Check your headlights, reversing lights and brake lights are working. Check your reversing lights by reversing close to a wall so you can see the reflection in your rear view mirror.
Things to check while you’re driving
Brakes – these are obviously very important, so you want to make sure they’re working well. You could have a problem with your brakes if:
- The brake pedal feels spongy,
- There’s a squealing noise with braking
- The steering pulls to one side when you brake,
- There are vibrations or pulsing through the brake pedal with braking.
Exhaust – if it’s smoky or sounding a bit weird, it could be a sign that there’s a problem.
Suspension and steering – you could have a problem with your shocks (which directly affects steering) if:
- The steering wheel shakes a lot after you hit a bump or pothole,
- Your car seems unstable or rough on metal roads,
- Your car continues to rock after coming to a standstill.
Noises – you know your car, so if you notice it’s making noises that are out of the ordinary, it can mean that something is wrong.
You can find more information here.