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As car owners we know that it is our responsibility to keep our cars road legal. Most of us know that this means ensure the road tax is paid, the car is appropriately insured and that it has a valid MOT. But much beyond this some people are unaware that there is more to car safety than just a MOT certificate and these things fall to us to check on a regular basis. To help you along the way to safe motoring I have complied my own Car Safety Checklist.
It is recommended that a car is serviced by a qualified mechanic every year. This isn’t just a ploy for your car to cost you even more money but a way for a professional to be able to highlight any safety issue and to ensure that the car will last you even longer. The mechanic will change the oil in the engine. This will keep the engine cleaner and thus prolonging it’s lifespan whilst also improving fuel efficiency. These services don’t always include break checks so you may need to clarify this with your mechanic.
Check The Oil
“But you just said a mechanic does the oil.” Well, yes, they do. But a car uses oil every time you drive it. Some use more than others. Mine seems to drink it faster than a student drinks a beer on freshers week. So it is always worth checking the oil of the car yourself on a regular basis. This is especially important to be done before a long journey. The oil needs to be checked whilst the engine is cold to ensure an accurate reading. It is also unsafe to add cold oil to a hot engine. This is why you should check it before long journeys because if you don’t and the oil runs out you will be sat at a service station for a long time before you can fill the oil tank. And as an added note… No oil in the engine means you will break the engine beyond repair.
Check The Tread On The Tyres
This is an obvious one, I hear you say. Well yes, it should be. But so many people forget to, and underestimate the importance of tyre tread. Checking the tread on tyres is one of the most important parts of car safety. Think about it this way; the only part of the car that is actually connected to the ground are the tyres. So yes your breaks may be brand new and work but if you have little to no tread on your tyres, when you slam your foot on the break because someone or something runs out in front you, your car won’t stop! The tyres will simply lock up and skid. So if I could give you just one piece of car safety advice it is to invest in good tyres and make sure you check the tread!
Find A Trust Worthy Dealer
Maintaining car safety can begin with the first moment you chose to buy a new/used car. There are plenty of car dealers around. However some are more trustworthy than others. We ourselves have been stung in the past, accidentally buying a clocked car. I find the best way is to search for a new car on a website where there are lots of dealers and private sellers advertising their cars for sale. Then find some within your price range and distance and go and see the cars. You will get a good feel for the type of seller they are quite quickly. Look over all of the cars and not just the one you have come to see. Take note of how tidy the surroundings are and if everything seems in good working order…. Not just the cars. If in doubt don’t buy. Go away, think about it and then you can always go back. Yes there is possibly someone else just around the corner wanting to buy it, but there also may not be and the dealer may just be trying to get a sale. Ensuring you buy from a good dealer will automatically ensure that the car is in a safe state from the moment you drive it off the forecourt.
Check It Regularly
So those are my main tips for car safety. Non of these things are complicated to do and all checks can be done within a few minutes. The trick is to do it often and to rectify any potential issues immediately. You wouldn’t put your children in an unsafe pushchair or carseat so why would you put them in a car that isn’t as safe as it could be?