There are daily, weekly, and yearly checks you can do to make sure your car’s safe and road worthy.
Have a quick look for any damage and punctures that may have happened while the car has been parked. Look underneath the car in case any fluids that have leaked.
Looking under the bonnet will reveal a number of items showing yellow symbols. These are things that require routine checking such as engine oil, brake and power steering fluid, coolant and windscreen washer fluid. Always refer to your manufacturer’s handbook for recommended replacement fluids.
- Check your tyres are at the correct pressure and there aren’t any cuts or bulges.
- The correct pressures for your car make and model will be in your vehicle handbook and on tyre pressure charts at petrol stations.
- Check tyres when they’re cold.
- Tread depth needs to be at least 1.6mm for cars and light vans. This can be checked with a gauge or you can use the wear bars on the tyre tread to see how much tread you have left.
- Check the engine oil level when the engine is cold and the car is parked on level ground.
- If the engine has been running, wait for 3-4 minutes before checking.
- The level should not fall below the minimum level indicator.
- Overfilling the engine oil can cause problems for the engine oil seals and catalytic converters.
- Many cars now have electronic oil level indicators that show if you need to top up the oil level. Some cars warning lights come on if the oil is overfilled also.
- If in any doubt about the correct oil level, seek advice or check your manufacturer’s handbook or visit your local garage/mechanic.
- Most cars have a sealed system and another small tank for checking and topping up coolant.
- The tank will have a min/max level line on the side. Make sure the water level is between these lines.
- Check when cold: do not open the cap when the engine is hot as there is a high risk of scalding.
- Most cars now have additives for running all year but if you have an older car, you may need to add antifreeze in winter.
Windscreen washers and wipers
- Make sure the windscreen washer bottle is full.
- Antifreeze/cleaning additives are recommended.
- Check wiper blades for cuts and tears and replace if faulty.
- If your wipers are noisy, the blades may have hardened and will need to be replaced.
- Check terminals are secure and free of corrosion.
- Check your manufacturer’s book for specific advice on your battery’s maintenance.
- Check your lights and horn work correctly.
- Replace faded, cracked or smashed lenses.
- Carry spare fuses and bulbs in the glovebox.
- Keep windows, mirrors and light lenses clean, especially in winter.
Get regular servicing
Regular servicing can help pick up faults before they cause a breakdown. Find a local garage that offers good service and reasonable pricing.