Making these 10 simple checks will make driving both worry-free and safer.
In case you do find yourself in trouble, make sure you know the location of the basic toolkit (you’ll find this information in the owner’s manual) and that it contains a jack and wheel removal tools, including the key for locking wheelnuts. Familiarise yourself with the jacking points used to lift the car safely too.
Check that the fluid’s not low.
Know the correct tyre pressures for your car and check them at least fortnightly using a good-quality gauge or garage air line.
Look for cuts on sidewalls. If any one tyre needs regular top-ups, it may have a slow puncture.
Check tyres are not below minimum legal tread depth.
3. Engine oil
Check the dipstick at least every fortnight and before any long journey.
Have the oil and filter changed at recommended service intervals.
High oil consumption can indicate engine problems.
Check the coolant level regularly and top up as necessary, but only when the engine is cold.
Have the antifreeze concentration checked before winter.
Antifreeze not only prevents the coolant from freezing but also prevents the build-up of corrosion within the cooling system, so it’s important all year round.
Wiper blades wear down over time and smear the windscreen if they become worn.
Replace them at least once a year for best performance.
Check and top up regularly – it’s a legal requirement that the system works.
Check the washers work and
use a good screenwash additive through summer and winter – water alone won’t clear oily road grime and freezes more readily in winter.
Inspect the screen regularly for stone damage and always replace a cracked or chipped screen as soon as possible.
Any damage may impair vision or distract attention.
Minor chips may grow and crack the glass but many can be repaired by a windscreen specialist.
Check all lights weekly. Don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights.
Clean lights regularly. In bad weather, wipe them over with a damp cloth during driving breaks.
9. Power steering
Ensure that the fluid reservoir is checked at every service and check it yourself once a month.
Top up only using the correct hydraulic fluid as advised in your owner’s manual.
Deal promptly with damage to bodywork to prevent rust setting in.
Many cars have extended bodywork warranty schemes, which may require annual inspection at the dealer. Check that any previous owner has kept records up to date.
It’s easy to forget but, if you’re setting out on a long journey, please check there’s enough fuel in your tank!
Please consult your vehicle manual before any maintenance is carried out or consult a qualified professional.