Pro­fes­sional ser­vic­ing

The Oban Times - - DRIVING FORCE -

Don’t try to fix safety- crit­i­cal com­po­nents your­self. Al­ways use a qual­i­fied me­chanic to work on your ve­hi­cle. Make sure you get your an­nual MOT and your ve­hi­cle is ser­viced in line with your ve­hi­cle hand­book.

If you’re driv­ing an em­ployer’s ve­hi­cle, speak to them about who is main­tain­ing it and when it was last checked. Ask your em­ployer to en­sure it is main­tained in line with the ve­hi­cle hand­book. En­cour­age them to make use of Brake’s guid­ance for com­pa­nies on fleet safety (see www. brake­

Just be­cause a ve­hi­cle has passed an an­nual test or been ser­viced, it doesn’t mean it will be safe un­til the next ser­vice. A brake pad (the ma­te­rial that keeps your brakes work­ing) may be only just above le­gal now, and worn out and dangerous well be­fore your next ser­vice. Talk to your garage about the level of wear on brake pads and tyres, and any other prob­lems your ve­hi­cle might ex­pe­ri­ence in the com­ing months, so you know if you should pay them a visit be­tween ser­vices.

Faulty bat­ter­ies are one of the big­gest causes of break­downs, so get it tested, par­tic­u­larly be­fore cold weather sets in. Many garages of­fer free checks.

Choos­ing the safest ve­hi­cle

Buy the safest, most re­li­able ve­hi­cle you can. To find out the safest car mod­els, visit Euro NCAP which tests and rates them. Be­fore buy­ing a sec­ond-hand ve­hi­cle, get it checked over by an in­de­pen­dent, qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced me­chanic. It’s bet­ter to pay for a me­chanic than buy a car that isn’t safe. See our fact­sheet on choos­ing safer ve­hi­cles for more in­for­ma­tion.

[i] Re­ported Road Ca­su­al­ties Great Bri­tain: 2013 An­nual Re­port, Depart­ment for Trans­port 2014.

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