Ser­vic­ing and main­te­nance will keep you safe

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring -

What­ever your ve­hi­cle’s age, make or model, there are things you can do to keep it run­ning well and safely.

It’s your re­spon­si­bil­ity to main­tain your ve­hi­cle.

The War­rant of Fit­ness check is a min­i­mum safety check and shouldn’t be con­fused with a ve­hi­cle ser­vice check. You don’t have to wait un­til your War­rant of Fit­ness is due. If in doubt, check it out.

It doesn’t take long to give your car a quick safety check. Just give it a reg­u­lar TWIRL – see check­list be­low – and take it to an ex­pert if any­thing’s wrong.

Tyres

Check the tread depth. Min­i­mum le­gal depth is 1.5mm but the more tread you have the bet­ter the grip and the safer.

Check the tyre pres­sure – cor­rect lev­els are usu­ally found on the in­side door frame. Look for cracks or bub­bles in the sides. Look for sharp ob­jects stuck in the tyres.

Wind­screen, wipers and mir­rors

Check your wiper blades for wear and tear.

Clean your mir­rors and wind­screen out­side and in­side.

Get your wind­screen fixed if it’s chipped or cracked.

Check your wind­screen washer fluid is full.

In­di­ca­tors

Put your hazard lights on and walk around the car, check­ing all in­di­ca­tors are flash­ing.

Rust

Look for ob­vi­ous ar­eas of cor­ro­sion that can weaken the car’s struc­ture.

Lights

Head­lights are cru­cial to driv­ing safely at night and in poor light, so you can see and be seen.

Your car’s head­lights should pro­vide a good view of the road and road­side with­out dis­tract­ing on­com­ing traf­fic. Reg­u­larly check all your lights are in work­ing or­der, re­place de­fec­tive bulbs as soon as pos­si­ble.

Tell­tale – if the in­di­ca­tor starts flash­ing faster than nor­mal, it sig­nals that a bulb is blown.

Gen­eral con­di­tion, cracks, cor­ro­sion and se­cu­rity

Noises

Lis­ten for un­usual noises. They usu­ally in­di­cate some­thing is wrong.

Po­lice will be car­ry­ing out reg­u­lar road­side checks to make sure cars are road­wor­thy.

Things you can check when driv­ing can be se­ri­ous so make sure you take your car to an ex­pert if you no­tice them or any­thing else un­usual.

Brakes

Brake main­te­nance should be left to me­chan­ics, how­ever signs to look out for are: squeal­ing noise when brakes are ap­plied, spongy feel when press­ing the brake pedal, ve­hi­cle pulling to one side when brakes are ap­plied and re­duced ef­fec­tive­ness of the brakes.

Check brake fluid level reg­u­larly. Brake fluid may ab­sorb wa­ter over time, mak­ing it more likely to boil un­der pro­longed brak­ing. It is gen­er­ally rec­om­mended that brake fluid be re­placed ev­ery two to three years.

Check the con­di­tion of brake hoses reg­u­larly and re­place them as needed. En­sure re­pairs or re­place­ments are made to both sides of the brakes. Re­pair­ing only one side can re­sult in un­even and un­safe brak­ing.

Brakes are im­por­tant for fuel ef­fi­ciency. Good brakes will help your ve­hi­cle stop in the short­est pos­si­ble dis­tance and main­tain sta­bil­ity.

Ve­hi­cles have ei­ther disc brakes or drum brakes. Drum brakes of­fer very good brak­ing on the rear axle, but are not as ef­fec­tive on the front axle. Some mod­ern cars have more so­phis­ti­cated brake sys­tems, such as anti-lock brak­ing sys­tems, that greatly im­prove safety.

Ex­haust

If it’s smoky or sound­ing un­usual there could be a prob­lem

Sus­pen­sion and steer­ing

You may have a prob­lem with your shock ab­sorbers, which di­rectly af­fect steer­ing, if: the steer­ing wheel shakes a lot af­ter you hit a bump or pot­hole, your car seems un­sta­ble on rough or un­sealed roads, or your car con­tin­ues to rock af­ter com­ing to a stand­still.

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