I’m learning how to drive at the moment and there is so much to remember. Not only am I seeing the importance of using common sense and care whilst on the roads, but making sure that the car you’re driving is in good shape and runs smoothly can not only save you money but also save your life.
I’ve teamed up with Fife Autocentre who are currently running a ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ campaign to highlight the importance of road safety and decrease road accidents that can be easily avoided with a few simple checks. Here’s a little list of some important tips I’ve learned with the help of the AA and some friends who’ve been on the road for years.
Have the right tools for the job
A few friends of mine swear by keeping a survival kit in the boot of their car. You never know when you’ll be stuck somewhere either in heavy traffic or broken down. It’s useful to keep a few tools such as a jack and tyre removing tools if you need to change a tyre. A first aid kit, blanket, bottled water, petrol and a charged power bank are also a few handy things that could be a godsend when you’re stuck.
This is best checked every couple of weeks. Have look for any cuts or bumps, plus check the pressure and the tread. The legal limit for your tread is 1.6mm in a continuous band across three-quarters of the width. It’s probably safer to keep it at around 2mm as this will give you extra grip in adverse weather conditions. Don’t forget to check your spare tire too. If it comes to it and you have to change your tire, it’ll be no good if it’s flat or bald. Plus, it’s handy to keep a toolkit in your boot, just in case.
It’s handy to keep a small jerry can of petrol. Especially if you’re off on a long journey. You don’t want to run out and be miles away from the nearest station with only sheep for company. This is should give you enough to get to the nearest town if you’re caught short.
Check this every couple of weeks using your dipstick or before any long journeys so that you can top up if needed. Pop down to your local garage if you find that you’re topping up more than usual to check for any leaks.
Check this weekly too, especially in cold weather. Make sure that your engine is cold and at the right levels. Check for any leaks and top up if required. You can get this checked at your garage.
It’s best to change your windscreen wipers every 12 months as they can wear down and cause smears on your windscreen which can be dangerous. Make sure your screenwash is topped up regularly so that the windscreen is kept nice a clear. The glass itself should be checked frequently for any chips or cracks and dealt with straight away. If left they can cause larger cracks which is very dangerous and could mean the entire windscreen would need to be replaced which is costly.
It’s important that these are in full working order. Check for any blown out bulbs, cracks in lenses or obstructions and dirt. If you need to change a bulb, these can be bought quite cheaply and your handbook will tell you how to do this.
Checking this is a simple job that could prevent a serious accident and save your life. Your cars handbook should tell you what level the fluids should be at.
You can check websites like the RAC and AA for more handy tips on car maintenance but if you’d prefer some help, you can book your car in for a service and let the experts take a look for you. If you’re in Dundee, you book a car service online from Fife Autocentre.