Car Maintenance Check List

Considering the disruption bad weather can do to driving conditions during winter, you would think drivers would take extra care on the roads, to ensure they don’t have accidents. However, the results of a recent survey conducted by Sainsbury’s Car Insurance shows quite the opposite. According to the survey, more than one in five drivers does not carry out the necessary checks on their cars each month to ensure the vehicle is in a road-worthy condition.

Which Drivers are Neglecting Their Cars?

The results of the survey are shocking. Twenty-one percent of drivers are failing to make regular checks to their vehicles, which accounts for some 7.2 million cars on the road. Women drivers also come out worse in the survey than men, with 26 percent of them neglecting to maintain their cars compared to 16 percent of men.

Age also seems to play a factor in how likely a driver is to check their car for damage. Eighty-five percent of drivers over the age of 65 stated that they inspect their vehicles once a month, compared to 71 percent of motorists between 18 and 24.

Similarly, the results can vary depending on which region of the country you are looking at. Between 83 and 85 percent of drivers from Scotland and the North of England carry out monthly checks on their cars (possibly because these areas are the most likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions) compared to 73 percent of motorists in London.

Which Checks Are Not Being Carried Out and Why?

A staggering 62% of drivers in the survey admitted they do not regularly check the depth of tread on their tires. The tread needs to be a minimum of 1.6mm in depth, although only 38 percent of motorists make sure their tires are road worthy.

Similarly, over half of drivers questioned (56%) fail to check the levels of water coolant in their engines, even though this is vital to ensuring that the engine does not overheat and cause an accident.

Drivers questioned in the survey gave a number of reasons why they don’t carry out the checks, but the largest factor seems to be that drivers simply didn’t think regular maintenance was necessary. Many motorists also confessed to only checking specific aspects of their cars before they embark on a long journey.

What Needs To Be Checked On A Car?

It is vitally important to inspect the key areas of your car at least once a month to ensure you are safe on the road. The following check-list should help you get a grip on this important task;

Engine Oil - Checking the level of oil in your engine is essential to ensuring the car runs smoothly and is well lubricated. Virtually every engine includes a dipstick to check the oil levels. The level should agree with the “full” mark on the dipstick, and the color should be light brown. Never overfill the oil, and change it according to your owner’s manual or when the color darkens.

Coolant - Another important part of the car is the coolant, which prevents the engine from overheating. Like the oil, there needs to be enough coolant in the tank to prevent accidents from occurring. If you notice that your coolant levels are constantly low, you may have a leak in your engine. Engine leaks require immediate attention by a professional mechanic.

Tires - Not only do tires need to have enough grip on them to be safe, they need to have sufficient pressure to remain buoyant and be able to deal with the tough surface of the roads. If you didn’t receive a tire-pressure gauge when you purchased your car, pick one up at your local auto parts store. Almost every gas station or garage has an air compressor that patrons can use to fill their tires to the proper pressure level. Legally, you must change any balding tires to prevent a dangerous accident, so check your tires regularly.

Windshield Wipers – When checking your wipers, the key is to be sure they make smooth contact with the windshield in order to prevent scratches or other damage. You also need to make sure you have a good amount of windshield-washer fluid at all times, as being robbed of the ability to see through your windscreen at the wrong time could be fatal.

Brake Lights – Making sure these lights work will help keep other drivers around you aware of what you are doing on the road. They should also be washed regularly as they can pick up dirt very easily.

The number of drivers that do not perform even the most basic checks on their cars is shocking. Failure to carry out these checks can mean that your car is a huge risk on the road, both to yourself and others. Maintaining the above key functions of your vehicle at least once a month will ensure that your car lasts longer and is safe to drive.

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