The Ins & Outs of Ensuring Your Car Is Safe This Summer
25 Jan 2018
Planning on taking a road trip this summer? Winter can be hard on your car. Dirty, pot-holed, salted roads can cause serious damage and problems and freezing temperatures are hard on the engine.
So here is as list of things to check to help make sure your driving this summer will be safe.
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Your car tyres are one of the most important parts of your car, so check the tread depths. Having part worn tyres means that the only contact place between you and the road is past its best – a dangerous situation given the state of the roads.
The law states that the minimum legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. The tread must meet this minimum requirement across its complete circumference.
The 20p test is a simple, quick and easy way of checking the tyre tread of your car’s wheels. Just take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit.
Be aware that if you are involved in an accident and your car has illegal or bald tyres, there may be some seriously bad consequences. Any insurance claim as a result of the accident could be invalidated. You could be at risk of a fine of up to £2,500 and three points on your licence. That is, per tyre!
Top up the screen wash container. You’ll find full instructions in your manual. Keep a bottle of water in the car for yourself and your passengers too.
Your car engine needs to be kept to the correct driving temperature, so check the coolant level. Again, full instructions on how to do this are in your manual. If the coolant leaks and the level is lower than recommended, then the engine can overheat which has to be resolved immediately and could prove expensive.
Also, make sure your air conditioning is working properly. Use it once a week throughout the year to ensure that its in good working order.
Check your wiper blades. Worn wiper blades are dangerous. 90% of your driving decisions are based on a clear, unobstructed view of the road. Ozone, airborne contaminants, oil, sunlight and dirt all act to weaken and reduce your wiper blades’ ability to keep your view unobstructed. And exposure to sunlight and ozone cause the wiper blades to age, even if they’re not used much.
Lights and indicators
If your lights aren’t working, you’ll fail your MOT. You could also be given an on-the-spot fine if you’re driving with a broken light. Get someone to help you check all the lights while you turn them on and off, one by one. If you find one of the lights is not working, head along to one the well-known suppliers and they will even fit it for you.
Whether it’s the car itself or the valuables inside, your car is a target for thieves. According to the Office of National Statistics, there were almost 358,000 reported instances of thefts from or of a motor vehicle in 2014.
When you activate the remote central locking, make sure that it has worked. Unbelievably some thieves use remote locking jammers to prevent the signal from your fob reaching the locking system!
Park your car in a well-lit place and try and avoid parking in a dubious area. Park alongside other cars.
Hide your belongings. This sounds like a no-brainer, but many people don’t bother. Use the glove box or boot to stash away anything that might tempt the bad guys. Even hide paperwork because it may be stolen and used for the purposes of identity theft.
If your car doesn’t have an alarm system, consider using a steering lock – they may act as a deterrent at least.
All lights, windows and number plates must be kept clean. Headlights must be correctly adjusted to prevent dazzling oncoming drivers.
Exhaust emissions must not exceed prescribed levels.
Make sure you understand the meaning of all dashboard warning lights – when some of them light up, it means you have to stop and turn the engine off now!
There’s a lot you can do to ensure safe driving this summer.
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