Reduce the risks of breakdowns and accidents, and stay on top of your car maintenance by performing these simple checks yourself.
Make sure your tyres are keeping you safe on the roads by checking air pressure, tread and even wear. At most service and petrol stations around Australia, you will find air pumps which will tell you how to check the air pressure. If it’s too high, you can release the valve to let out air, and if too low you’ll be able to add more air.
Also check for tread, as worn tyres mean you won’t be gripping the road strongly enough which can affect braking. If tyre tread is good but is unevenly worn, you can have these rotated. And of course, ensure to have a spare tyre in your boot in case you get a flat on the roads!
You can check your oil very easily by popping open the engine hood of your car. Simply park it on a level surface and wait for the oil to settle for a few moments. Remove the dipstick and wipe this clean with a cloth, then replace it back in the pipe. Remove it once again and you’ll see where the oil level is up to. If it’s between the two markings you’re in the clear, and if not, you’ll be able to simply top up the oil.
Don’t forget to take a look at the water levels whilst there, and to check the garage floor where you park for fluid markings as this can be an indicator of problems that need some attention.
Seat belts are designed to hold you safely should impact occur to your vehicle. They prevent vehicle occupants from impacting the interior of the car, or flying out of the car dangerously. They also sit across the stronger parts of the body.
Check seatbelts for wear and tear, for weathering from the sun, and for damage which can cause them to become loose or weak. Have these replaced if you need to. Give seat belts a good tug to ensure they are resisting and in working order.
Lights ensure you’re visible on the roads, and also provide you with the same visibility of others. Check your exterior lights are working by turning on your lights and watching for a reflection on the garage walls. You can also ask someone else to have a walk around the vehicle whilst you have it on.
Extra checks you can perform yourself include activating your wipers to make sure they work effectively, testing your horn, checking for cracks to your glass and mirrors, and pulling your handbrake on a steep hill to make sure it’ll work in an emergency.
Other car issues will, of course, need a mechanic, however the above are easy to check on yourself and can save you in the long run. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with your vehicle so you know what your mechanic is talking about next time you’re in for a service.
And don’t forget, to make sure you have the right car insurance to suit your needs. For more information, visit CGU.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 trading as CGU Insurance. Any advice is general only. Consider the relevant PDS available from cgu.com.au to see if a product is right for you.