Car safety checks are really important. Even while enjoying a leased vehicle it’s important you ensure it is safe to drive all year round. If you have a fully maintained lease agreement the vehicle is your responsibility to keep safe and well.
It is sensible to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the changing seasons.
In the UK, many local garages offer seasonal car safety checks, often complimentary and can include: Brakes, Steering and suspension, Lights, Fluid levels and the general well-being of the vehicle.
If you are not confident with checking a vehicle this simple solution can give you peace of mind. It also limits the chances of the car failing or even worse crashing.
However, some of these checks can be carried out yourself. You should still be aware of some of the best ways of looking after your vehicles throughout the year.
We all like to rely on the internet to find solutions to problems or find out new information. When it comes to your car all the information you need is printed in the drivers handbook.
Have an old fashioned read, it is better to know what the various parts of the engine are. The simplest, immediate checks that can be carried out yourself, can save on a lot of hassle. Knowing where to fill up the radiator, brake and washer fluid can be hugely beneficial. There are a many drivers who never bother.
Simple car safety checks should be carried out regularly, especially before long drives. Check all the lights work. Not only should they work, but they also should be clean enough for drivers to see clearly. Your wipers should also work efficiently, and clean the car windows properly.
Know where to fill the oil/radiator/brake fluid/windscreen/power steering levels, and how much to put in. Check the levels out in winter and summer to prevent the engine freezing or overheating. Take a torch with you in the car, simply so you can see where to fill in cold/foggy winter weather in an emergency. The levels on the side of each reservoir are fairly self-explanatory.
With the above points in mind, why not have various spares in the car with you? Bulbs for front and rear lights, (alongside the knowledge to fit them), wipers, jump leads, coolant/antifreeze, brake fluid, and oil should all be present. Invest in an emergency battery booster and keep plenty of water for makeshift window cleaning duties too.
Keep the phone number of your breakdown and recovery in your car, either stored on your phone or written within the manual. A spare tyre, even if it’s only one that can literally give you a few days of driving before getting to a garage, and can be a lifesaver if you know how to fit it; ensure you know where to keep the jack and other fitting tools.
In addition, keep a torch, blanket and food and drinking water in the car in the colder months.
Your manual will tell you the optimal PSI range of your vehicle, which will typically be between 30 and 35 PSI (pounds per square inch). Checked your tyres at least once per month, and adjust air pressure if needed. This is one of the car safety checks that almost anyone can do.
Not only does an under-inflated tyre reduce the efficiency of the vehicle, but it also makes it less easy to drive and, potentially, dangerous – an under-inflated tyre is far more susceptible to blowouts and a loss of control. Ideally, make sure the tyres are correct before leaving, and/or take a gauge or pump with you.
The law requires car tyres to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm around the central three-quarters. Any less than this, and the tyre is illegal and will run the risk of perishing and punctures. It will also clearly fail its MOT test.
Some drivers prefer ‘winter tyres’ for the colder months. Winter tyres retain their softness under low temperatures due to a different rubber compound structure. They also possess a different tread pattern that give better grip on the icy roads.
You’ll probably get reminders that the vehicle needs a service periodically, and while this is not a legal requirement it can save you large amounts of money, should the car go wrong. A well-maintained and serviced car is more efficient and will run better, so it will save you money on a month-by-month basis. You’ve also got a greater chance of selling the car, should you wish to do so. With a lease car the vehicle must be serviced in line with the manufacturers guide to comply with the manufacturer warranty.
It goes without saying that if your vehicle is more than three years old it requires a yearly MOT test, which will test the brakes, lighting, steering, emissions, seat belts, body/structure, and emissions among other aspects. If brakes only just pass the safety test then get them replaced asap rather than waiting for them to fail while driving.
Additionally, if you see symptoms that lead you to suspect something is gravely wrong – such as signs of leakage – drive straight to the garage. Ensuring your vehicle is in good working condition also minimises the effects of wear and tear. This reduces the rate of depreciation and is great news when returning your car at the end of your lease. By doing car safety checks you can spot potential problems early and avoid costly repairs.
6th of March 2020