Keeping your car safe
We regularly remind people to keep their cars well-maintained all year round in order to keep themselves and others safe on the road.
The impact of worn tyres, blown lights and damaged wipers could be disastrous on our roads, particularly in winter when there is low light and wet or icy road conditions.
Service checks, by a qualified mechanic, will ensure your car is safe and can save the need for costly repairs, as well as prevent injury.
Your car should be serviced based on the manufacturer's recommendations, or at least annually for those who don't travel far.
But for now, here are some things you can do yourself to help keep your car as safe as possible:
Poor tyre condition, tread and low pressure are dangerous in wet or icy conditions. Low tread levels can result in sliding during wet weather, which can cause a loss of control.
Tyre tread depth should be at least 1.5mm across the full surface of the tyre. Any less and motorists could put themselves and others at risk.
You can check your tread by turning your front wheels to full lock, in both directions, to check the inside and outside edges. If your tread has worn down to the tread wear indicators, found across the width of the tyre, it's time to get them changed.
Match heads can also be used to measure the tread depth by poking it into the shallowest part of the tread. If you can still see the match head, you need to replace your tyres.
Headlights and brake lights
Our headlights and brake lights are vital for night time driving. Have a quick check from time to time to make sure yours are okay. With your car in park, turn on your headlights and hazard lights and have a quick check to make sure everything is working.
Checking your brake lights can be tricky. If you live on your own, ask someone to have a look at your lights while you are in your car. You may also be able to tell if you are parking in a garage or close to a wall as you may be able to see the lights shining on the surface.
Wiper blades and fluid
Worn wiper blades can smear water and dirt on your windscreen, while empty fluid tanks prevent you cleaning it altogether. This can reduce your vision.
Changing your wiper blades is quite simple and a lot of auto parts retailers can do it for you. Also, if you want to fill up your fluid, pop the bonnet and look for the wiper icon. You can fill it up with a jug of water or even a hose.
Alternatively, there are still some service stations that offer driveway service and they can most likely help you with this.
Mirror positioning is very important as it helps drivers see other road users travelling behind them.
For your rear vision mirror, sit in the driver's seat and make sure it is positioned so you can see out your rear window.
You must also adjust your left and right side mirror. Using the mirror adjustment switch, make sure you can see just a small part of your own car, not much more than the rear door handle, ensuring most of your mirror is being used to see your surrounds.