01.09.2016 Car Insurance,Family Article
We all know the importance of buckling up, obeying the rules of the road and practicing safe driving techniques when behind the wheel of the car. But keeping your car in good condition can be equally important to ensuring your safety while driving. Apart from regular services from you mechanic or garage, there are some simple steps you can take yourself to keep you and other road users safe.
Your car’s tyres take a lot of punishment on a daily basis, so they will need to be checked regularly to make sure you stay gripped to the road. Regularly check the general condition of your tyres; inspecting them for any obvious signs of wear and tear, possible punctures or foreign objects such as nails. You should also ensure that the tread depth is at least 1.6mm as this is a legal requirement. Regularly inflate your tyres and consult your car owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure. Finally, don’t forget to check your spare tyre is also in good condition as you never know when you might need it.
Your car’s coolant system helps to regulate the engine’s temperature and prevent corrosion. Not only does this mean your car is less likely to break down, but also helps to make your engine run more efficiently which can save fuel. You should check your coolant level at least once a month and more often during warm periods. Always make sure that the engine has had time to cool before opening the radiator cap. Verify that the fluid is above the min and below the max line and has not become discoloured. Always use a high quality coolant when topping up and never water. Coolant has both a higher boiling point and lower freezing point than water and offers much better protection. Lastly, if you notice you have to regularly top up the coolant, this may indicate that your system has a leak and you should have this checked by a professional.
Engine oil performs a number of essential functions in your car’s engine including reducing friction between the metal components, preventing rust and removing heat and dirt. For the oil to effectively do its job, it needs to be topped up and replaced regularly. You should check your oil level every couple of weeks and top it up if it is running low. There is no single answer to how often engine oil should be replaced, but you should at least have it changed as part of your car’s regular service.
You should always carry some basic tools in your car as you never know when you might need them. At the very least, this should include a jack and wheel brace in case you puncture a tyre and need to replace a wheel. A torch, reflective triangle and hi-vis jacket are also useful to alert other road users as you change a wheel at the side of the road. We also suggest that you carry some jumper cables and a tow rope so you can at least move your car to the side of the road in the event sudden and unexpected break down.
The climate in Ireland means that windscreen wipers get a lot of use. These are absolutely essential to driving safely so we suggest that you regularly check them for signs of wear and tear. If the wipers are cracked, rigid or dry they will need to be replaced. If only the rubber squeegees are damaged you can replace these by purchasing a refill. However, the full wiper assembly should also be replaced periodically as over time they will begin to deteriorate and lose contact with the windscreen.
A car’s windshield not only protects you from the elements but is also an integral part of the car’s overall structural strength. You should regularly inspect your windshield’s condition and have any chips or dings repaired as soon as possible. Not only can these affect your ability to clearly see the road, but they can easily grow to become a crack the next time you hit a bump in the road meaning you will have to replace the entire windscreen. Dirt and grime on the windshield can seriously reduce visibility and increase the glare from the sun so make sure you keep the windshield clean on both the inside and outside.
Windscreen wash provides a number benefits and is essential to maintaining the condition of your car’s windscreen and wipers. In addition to removing dirt and grime, windscreen wash helps to reduce smear and prevents wiper blades from freezing. You should regularly check your car’s screenwash reservoir and fill it to the top with fresh fluid. You should also check that the washer jets are free from obstruction and the spray hits the centre of the windscreen. If the jets are misaligned, you should adjust them before driving.
You car’s lights are of vital importance and we recommend that you regularly check their condition for your own safety and the safety of other road users. Make sure to regularly inspect your lights general condition and ensure that they are free from cracks and clean. Before driving, you should also inspect each of your car’s lights by walking around the car and verifying that the beams are of equal intensity and none of the bulbs are blown or dull.
Now that you know some of the basics of keeping your car safe on the road, don’t forget the most important check – making sure your car is fully insured. We offer fully comprehensive car insurance with a host of great benefits.