When it comes to driving, safety should always be priority #1.
You don’t have to be a mechanic, or even have any particularly developed mechanical inclinations, to do a basic safety check on your vehicle. The following information may vary a bit depending upon the vehicle make and model you have. Always consult with your owner’s manual for the exact information applicable to your car or truck, but the following basic outlines should give you an idea of how you check your car over for safety.
1. Watch your oil.
Even if you do right by your vehicle and change your oil according to the schedule in your owner’s manual, you still need to check it every time you get gas. This is the safest way to go, as you are constantly keeping tabs on the oil level. Cars are fitted with a dipstick that will give you a reading on your oil level. Most people check the oil when they get gas, simply because it becomes a ritual and they don’t forget to do it. Ideally, however, you should check it when the engine is cool, such as before you take off for the day.
2. Look at your radiator fluid.
On most modern vehicles, it’s easy to check your anti-freeze levels. An overflow tank will be located near your radiator that will have the minimum and maximum levels indicated on it. The fluid level should be somewhere between the minimum and maximum marks. Never open up a hot radiator; it can boil over and cause severe burns.
3. Check your brake fluid.
On most vehicles, you’ll find the brake fluid reservoir positioned in a very obvious place near the back of the engine. Again, the reservoir will have a minimum and maximum level on it. If your brake fluid levels are low, you have the option of adding more – be very careful not to add any dirt into the reservoir – or of going to a mechanic. Generally speaking, situations where your break fluid levels have dropped are ones where getting an expert to look over your vehicle is a very good idea.
4. Check your tire pressure.
Incorrect tire pressure can be very dangerous. It can affect how your car handles, the braking distance you need before you stop and, of course, incorrect tire pressure can cause a blowout. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and always check it when you get gas. If you’re going on a trip, you have to check this before you leave to ensure safe driving.
5. Check your fuses.
Check anything electrical in your car to make sure that it works. If it doesn’t, check your fuse box. Your fuses can be located in many different spots, depending upon your vehicle’s make and model, so check your manual to see where yours are located. You should always have spares on hand in case of emergencies. Your lights and interior electrical devices should all be working. When they’re not, it can be a sign of an electrical problem with the car that might get worse.
6. Replace your windshield wipers.
Your wiper blades can become huge hazards if they’re worn out. They will not, of course, provide adequate clearing on the windshield, which can create a vision hazard. If they get worn through and start to scratch your windshield, you’ll be unlikely to use them and this can make the situation even worse. You can check the blades by turning on your windshield washer fluid and seeing if they leave streaks or not. Of course, you also want to make sure that you always have washer fluid in the reservoir!
Maintaining your vehicle and making sure it is up to basic safety standards is part of being a responsible driver. Sometimes, negligent drivers fail to maintain their vehicles and end up causing accidents because of mechanical failures. A car accident attorney may be a good recourse if this has happened to you. A Dallas car accident attorney can look over your claim and see whether or not this type of negligence applied in your case.