Saturday 17 April 2021
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Is Your Car Safe? The Check-Up You Need Before You Drive


Whether you are setting off on a holiday by car or using your car for day-to-day errands and trips, you should devote care and attention to the safe and effective running of your vehicle. Many breakdowns and even some accidents could be prevented by more thorough and timely car maintenance.

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to car maintenance. Careful checks of your car’s mechanical components and systems will help to ensure that your road travels do not become nightmares. It’s also important that your car is properly maintained to ensure that insurance policies are upheld and claims are finalised without delay in the event that an accident occurs or you otherwise want to make an insurance claim. Experienced lawyers, such as the professionals at Patinos law firm, would be quick to tell you that there is a much better chance of a successful insurance claim if your car is regularly serviced and frequently checked.

So, What Do You Need to Know?

If you’re travelling on highways, increased pressure is put on components of your car, including its tyres, cooling and engine lubrication systems. When you are travelling at fast speeds in a vehicle heavily loaded with gear and passengers – and especially if the outside temperature is high – your car is under significantly more strain. These conditions illuminate the importance of comprehensive checks before you travel.

If your car was last serviced more than a few thousand kilometres ago, your car should have a complete service before you set off.

Fresh Oil Is Needed

Be aware that engines work optimally with fresh oil. Oil levels should be regularly checked and you should ensure that your engine oil is changed as recommended.

If your car is usually used only for city-based short trips, thick sludge can accumulate and the presence of condensation can deliver an inaccurate oil level reading. If your car’s oil has not been changed for some time, it’s likely that its lubrication effectiveness will have decreased, and this will inflict heavier wear on the moving parts of your engine.

Before you travel, give your car fresh oil and ensure that the oil is topped up to the highest marked level on the dipstick (but take care not to fill beyond this marker). As well as oil, pay close attention to other lubricants in your car, including automatic transmission fluid, oils for the gearbox and differentials, as well as grease on relevant suspension components and linkages.

Keep Your Cooling System Cool

Your car’s cooling system should also be thoroughly checked and new coolant should be used. If trying to run your car with old coolant, an improperly functioning thermostat or a compromised radiator, you can expect problems – particularly if travelling on highways in hot weather. Keep in mind that repairs needed because of cracked cylinder heads and engine overheating are typically expensive.

Tyre Pressure

Tyre pressure should be checked weekly and you can do this with your own tyre pressure gauge. All tyres (including your spare) should be in good condition and have at least 4mm of tread, no cracks and no evidence of abnormal wear on your tread. If unsure of the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle, refer to the placard that is most often found just inside one of the doors or in the glovebox.

Taking some simple and sensible steps to ensure your car is safe and running well can help to limit angst and frustration when travelling long or short distances.