Oil Change

We all know the importance of car safety. We depend on cars to get around everywhere and most of us probably drive enough to need to pay attention to the health of our cars.

Every day the news channels depressingly report of stories of major car accidents, sometimes fatal, and these accidents are just the type of thing you want to try and avoid. I know, way to state the obvious, but the average driver can check a few simple things without much knowledge about cars and put themselves in a safer place driving.

Although some more complex things to check do exist, knowing just these ten things to monitor greatly increases safety. Knowing that your car proves reliable provides comfort for frequent driving and longer drives. Set your mind at ease by monitoring these ten things and whatever else you may want to check. Some things in cars are not controllable like other drivers around you, but let’s focus on monitoring what we can control.

Not checking these things out of laziness or ignorance is upsetting. It does not take much effort or time to do and the effort and time put in to check these things is better than getting in a car accident from something controllable failing. Do all you can to prevent the consequences of driving on the roads with a car not up to full capability and reliability.

1. Anti-freeze/Coolant
Not having enough anti-freeze in your car creates a situation where your engine no longer runs properly. It overheats fairly easily with no anti-freeze and this leads to breakdowns. No one wants their engine to overheat, and depending on where it occurs or when may lead to even more stressful situations.

Not to worry, your checks of anti-freeze levels do not need to be intimidating nor do they have to happen often. Do check it as much as you want though, the more the merrier and safer.

Anti-freeze sounds daunting, but the difficulty level of checking it is low. You need to use caution and only check the anti-freeze when the engine temperature cools all the way down.

2. Windshield Wiper Fluid
I was originally thinking, why does windshield wiper fluid need to be checked as part of a safety issue rather than just a comfort issue? Then I realized that my stupidity peaked to an all-time high: You need to see to drive!

If the windshield wiper fluid reservoir gets used up and bone dry something could get all over your windshield and you would no longer have the ability to clean it off. If you’re like my mother, you fill up your windshield wiper fluid reservoir with water. NOT a good idea! Do not follow her example! Water does not get everything off, believe me.

Having windshield wiper fluid at all times prevents anything from blocking your vision. Also using your windshield wipers on just normal function (not spraying and cleaning) when the reservoir for them is empty causes deteriorating function of your windshield wipers. You would not want to be caught in a downpour on a busy road with poorly functioning wipers.

3. Spare tire
The spare tire on any car needs checking because a flat tire fixed with a tire in poor condition, although not flat, is not much of a trade-off. A spare in utmost condition makes for a safe drive after swapping it for a flat tire.

Spare tires corrode over time and the corrosion can make for a spare worse than the tire it is replacing. Spare tires out in the elements corrode more easily than spares held within automobiles.

4. Power Steering Fluid
Power steering holds a title of something that greatly improved the comfort of driving in our day and age. Power steering no longer functions if power steering fluid depletes.

Going down a winding mountain road with no power steering is not fun. Been there, done that, and boy was it stressful! No one wants to drive a car without power steering and checking power steering fluid does not take much and prevents a lot of problems. With no power steering the possibility of loss of control while driving exists and we do not want that.

Severe accidents can occur when people lose control of their cars, and keeping track of power steering fluid will help hinder anything happening to power steering and prevent accidents.

5. Brake Fluid
What do brakes do? They stop moving vehicles at red lights, stop signs and yields, but beyond that they save lives and stop harmful accidents from happening.

The commercials for all of the new technologies in cars (such as brakes that brake without pressure from a human foot when the car senses something around it) are good things to discuss. If someone, hypothetically, were to back up and another car buzzed by quickly and those automatic brakes had no brake fluid to function or at least not function well… we see where this is going. A crash will ensue if the brakes are not working well and avoiding dangerous situations such as these and much worse is of the utmost importance.

6. Tire Tread
Tire tread wear down causes loss of traction, possible blowouts and longer braking distance. All of these things combined make for a nasty mix and even the best of drivers puts themselves in a horrendous situation driving with poor tire tread.

Various driving conditions can make poor tire tread even more dangerous and checking tire tread is so easy. Worn down tire tread gets spotted easily by almost anyone.

7. Oil
Low oil or old oil causes bad driving performance and possible overheating of the engine which leads to breakdowns. Checking the dipstick in the oil and the color of the oil is easy.

Breaking down never makes for good circumstances and pulling over depending on the time of day and lighting around you is so very dangerous.

8. Lights
Being able to see while driving at night or in dark areas (tunnels, under bridges, etc.) without full functioning lights is practically impossible. Well-lit areas where many people drive sometimes make for a more difficult time of knowing whether or not your lights work well or are working at all.

I suggest driving and trying to catch the reflection of your car in others around you. In less populated areas with less well-lit roads the functionality of your lights is obvious. If you cannot see you need to get your lights fixed ASAP.

9. Dashboard Lights on Ignition
I know this sounds dumb, but this check makes a difference. We may not all think about this when we turn on our cars, but when you start up the ignition just quickly check to make sure that all of the dashboard alert lights turn on and light up.

If one of these lights does not light up it may not work and many of us rely on this technology to tell us whether or not our car runs at 100%.

10. Tire Pressure
The location of suggested tire pressures is on each of your tires. Just like tire tread, imbalanced tire pressure lengthens braking distance.

Imbalanced tire pressure, if bad enough, can cause more difficulty driving and especially at higher speeds.

These ten things boost safety and the value factor of safety makes checking these ten facets of cars incredibly worth it. The time and effort necessary to check these ten things is nothing when compared to the events that can be prevented by doing so. Do what you feel comfortable with on your own and if you feel that you need help never hesitate to contact a mechanic.

 

Sources:

http://consumerist.com/2008/01/04/7-things-to-regularly-check-on-your-car-to-save-money/
http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/breakdown_advice/how-to-check-your-engine-coolant.html