I know, I know, it feels like the kids have only been back at school for a nanosecond and already we are talking about October Half Term but it will be here before we know it. Families up and down the Country will be getting ready to pack the car up and head off on a road trip whether it’s just for a day, a weekend or the whole week. The last thing you need as you excitedly set the wheels into motion is for your car to breakdown so follow this quick guide of car safety checks and make sure that your car is roadworthy before you go.
- Check your oil – Ensure you have enough oil in the engine by checking when the engine is cold. If the levels are low top it up with good quality oil but be careful not to overfill.
- Coolant – The majority of car radiators have an overflow bottle with a min/max line clearly marked. Again, only open the cap when the engine is cold. Coolant should be topped up with a mixture of 50/50 water and antifreeze.
- Tyres – The law requires car tyres to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre. To help you judge how much tread you have on your car tyres, manufacturers often mould tread bars at roughly 1.6mm. You also need to check the walls of your tyres for bugles, cracks or foreign objects like nails. Take your car to a fuel station to check your tyre pressures (usually found on a table inside the drivers door frame or under the bonnet.
- Washer bottle water – You can just top up your washer bottles with general tap water but if you buy from a garage it will contain antifreeze, detergent and it will smell nice when you use it too.
- Check your lights – Ask a friend to stand at the front and rear of your car as you systematically check all of your lights (side, dipped, main beam, indicators and brake lights). If you haven’t got anyone to help try parking near a shop with a large glass window so you can see your car reflection.
- Fan belt – You will normally hear if your fan belt has an issue as it makes a loud shrieking noise but with the engine turned off, check the belt to make sure there are no cracks and it doesn’t feel slack.
- Check for drips and leaks – Every time I park my car somewhere I look for spaces where the tarmac is clean. That way when I return to my car I can check for drips or marks under the car which will indicate leaks in hoses. If you do spot a puddle under your car and can reach it with your hand, dip your finger in and check to see if it is water, oil or fuel. Oil will be coloured and fuel will have a distinctive smell. If you use your Air Con then you will be likely to see a puddle of water under your car from the condensation.
- Sat nav updates – before you hit the road, check your sat nav has all the latest updates so that you don’t end up on a magical mystery tour when you stumble across a new road layout.
Hubby and I are pretty confident to check most things on our cars ourselves and will call in the help of the garage when something needs changing or fixing but if you don’t have the confidence to do it yourself then pop along to www.kwikfit.com to get your car safety checks done by the professionals and give you some peace of mind.