How Often are You Carrying Out Vehicle Checks? Once, Twice a Year?
You know the checks you should be carrying out, but do you know how to do vehicle checks properly? Do you know how often you should be carrying these checks out? In this piece, we will tell you exactly how it’s done to ensure you’re the safest you can be on the road?
What you’re looking for in the tyre checks is cuts and bulges, tyre pressure and deflation, and tread wear. However, not all of these checks need to be carried out daily. When checking for cuts and bulges on your tyres, you should run your finger around the top and sides of each tyre. If you find any, you should get your tyres replaced ASAP. Driving on tyres with a bulge will leave you at risk of having a blowout, and cuts may even be illegal.
If your tyres have deflated, you will typically get a warning of some sort from your vehicle; whether that’s a warning light, warning sound, or a pop-up on the dash. You can check your tyre pressure with a pressure gauge by removing the tyre valve dust cap and gently pushing the gauge down onto the stem. Tyre pressure should typically be around 30psi; if your pressure is below this, use a suitable pump, to reinflate them. Check every tyre as they won’t all have the same psi and remember to put the dust cap back on after checking!
Check the windscreen for any chips or cracks just by scanning it before you set off. If you find a chip or crack, you should take care of it sooner than later. Your windscreens integrity lessens when it is damaged; whilst not all chips turn into cracks, a lot of them do. Even a change in temperature could be the difference between a chip, a crack, or even a smashed screen. Driving with a crack can also be considered a motoring offence, so it’s something to keep on top of.
Checking your wipers work is simple, you’ll do it every day if you live in England. Before you set off on your journey, just switch your wipers on as you would any other day. If they are smooth, quiet, and clear your screen with ease, there’s no need to panic. However, if you find that your wipers are leaving streaks and making a scraping noise, it may be time to change them. This easy check just ensures that your vision is not impaired during adverse weather.
To check your lights, just simply switch the headlights on and walk around your vehicle. You should also check that your fog lights work, front and back. While these lights don’t help you, they do help other drivers in foggy conditions. Ensuring your headlights work gives you greater visibility in the dark, especially as it gets darker earlier in the winter months.
If your car has tyre pressure sensors, you will be alerted when your pressures are low. This is also a good time to check your tyres for a slow puncture or any cuts/bulges.
Sidenote! If you think you have a slow puncture, relax your grip on the steering wheel. Is your car pulling to one side? Is the steering wheel vibrating? Do you feel your handling is not as smooth as usual? Check your tyre pressures.
Deflation or low tyre pressure can negatively affect fuel efficiency, and more importantly, braking distance. This is why it is so important to check your tyres regularly and thoroughly.
To check the tread on your tyres you can purchase a tyre tread depth gauge, or even use a 20p coin. Simply slot the coin in the main grooves of the tyre, check it in a few separate places around the tyre as parts may have worn more than others. If the “TWENTY PENCE” writing disappears, you have enough tread.
It is recommended you change your tyres when they reach 3mm tread. However, 1.6mm is the legal minimum tread depth around the tyre. It is also recommended that this check should be carried out every other week.
There are a number of fluids in your car and you should check them often and fill them when necessary. For most of the fluids, simply unscrew the top and fill up when necessary. It is advised to keep them topped up regularly. However, it’s a little different checking the engine oil.
Remove the dipstick and wipe clean. Then, place the dipstick back in the oil tank and remove it again. The dipstick will have some ridges indicating where the oil level should be. You will see the oil on the dipstick, if it is under the recommended level, you should top it up accordingly.
For more steps on the rest of the fluids, check out this site’s great advice.
You should check all of the seatbelts in your vehicle often to ensure the safety of every passenger on board. To check the seatbelts, you will want to pull them out completely and check for cuts and frays. As well, you should check that the seatbelts are secure and clip in properly. Tug on the seatbelt to check that they don’t pull out of the buckle. The last thing anyone wants is a crash but sometimes they’re inescapable, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. For a visual representation of these checks, watch the video linked here.
Grab handles/any adaptations
Grab handles’ purpose is to allow ease when entering or exiting a vehicle. However, you may also use them when you’re in the car with one speedy driver. You can check your grab handles, or any adaptations of them, by simply grabbing them and putting some force onto them. If they snap or break, you should obviously get them replaced.
As stated in our “Is Your Vehicle Fit for the Purpose” page, we recommend a fleet audit every year and to carry this out with the pre-sale/return checks.
Carry out these checks as specified to ensure your vehicle is the safest it can be when driving generally and in an accident.
For more information, get in touch below!