Learning to drive and owning your own car is normally one of the best experiences of your life. Having the freedom to explore places you have never been before and not being restricted to public transport is something you can only really appreciate when you own your first car. It’s important you keep your car in tip-top condition to prevent any potential mechanical problems occurring, which in the long run could see a large bill coming your way, in order to fix the issues. Not only would you have the bill to worry about, some problems with the vehicle can put you and other road users at risk of an accident, which could have been prevented.
One of the main health checks which needs to be carried out on any vehicle that is three years old or more is the MOT, which is then due once every year. During an MOT the mechanic will do a complete check of your car to make sure everything works correctly and safely. You can book your car in for an MOT at places like www.kwik-fit.com and other well-known garages. Without an MOT certificate you will not be able to renew your road tax or drive your vehicle lawfully so it is important you get this done.
Regularly checking the condition of your vehicles tyres is one of the most important factors you need to remember when owning a car, as the tyres are the only point of contact with the road. It is recommend that you check all four tyres every two weeks to see if there is any sign of wear and tear that will need to be replaced and to check the tyre pressure. Your tyres will slowly start to lose grip on the road, especially in bad weather conditions and this can have disastrous consequences. While you are checking your tyres don’t forget to check your spare tyre too.
It sounds obvious making sure your vehicle’s oil is topped up but if this isn’t checked then it can start causing problems with the engine. As well as oil, screen wash and water is another must. Throughout the year, dirt can build up quickly on your windscreen. Ensuring you have clear visibility of the road is vital and making sure your screen wash it topped up means you won’t ever find yourself in a position where your visibility is reduced because of a dirty windscreen.
Another simple health check for your car is checking the bulbs are in a good working condition. Cleaning your car's headlamps will ensure that the best light is provided for you and other drivers on the road. You can check your brake lights by having a friend observe the light as you apply pressure to the brake pedal and indicators. It’s best to replace your bulbs in pairs as this will help give the best light consistently. Bulbs can be fiddly to insert but if you visit your local garage they will be able to put them in correctly for you.
The battery is simply the heart of your vehicle. Using in-car entertainment will increase the usage of the battery and as your car won’t start if it is flat, it’s vital you check it regularly. You can do this with a multimeter while the engine is running. A fully charged car battery should measure at 12.6 volts or above. Another way to test your car battery is by testing your electrical system. You can do this by starting your car and turning on the headlights. If the lights are at a normal brightness while the engine is revved, this will tell you that your charging system is functioning properly. If they are dim they will be running off the battery and no charge is produced.
The above points are just five safety checks that should be carried out on any vehicle to prevent any unnecessary accidents. However, if you happen to find yourself dealing with an car emergency or waiting for aid on the side of the road, here are some useful things we advise keeping in your vehicle just in case: torch, high-vis vest, water, warning triangle, mobile phone charger, a warm coat and/or blankets, an umbrella/waterproof jacket. For any more information on car safety, you can contact your nearest approved garage. To share your own tips or advice, come and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #CarSafetyChecklist.