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Prevent and prepare: Make sure your car is roadworthy

Owning a car not only offers great freedom and opportunities, but it also comes with responsibility to both yourself and your car. Looking after your car is crucial as it maintains your safety when you are driving and also ensures that the car remains in tip top shape for longer. 

One of the key ways to keep your car in good condition is to rectify any wear and tear as it happens. That way, you can fix a problem before it’s too late. Furthermore, it is important to make sure you are checking your car regularly for any potential issues, especially before you go on any long journeys. 

We’ve put together some top tips on what wear and tear to look out for in your vehicle, as well as how to prepare your car for a long journey.  

Key types of wear and tear to look out for

Your car has so many elements to it that could get damaged or deteriorate over time. Many modern cars alert you to potential issues but there’s plenty you can do yourself to keep your car safe, looking great and running reliably.  

Exterior

 Scratches and dents: Keeping an eye on your car’s bodywork will enable you to fix any problems and not be caught unawares if you go on to sell your car in the future.

Front and rear lights: Your dashboard warning light display may warn you that one of your car’s exterior bulbs are faulty or blown – your owners’ manual can guide you through what the various warning light symbols mean. Alternatively, you can conduct simple visual headlight and brake light checks yourself, with the help of a friend.

Tyres and wheels

Tyre damage: Many things can happen to your tyres when driving. It is important to check over your tyres for any damage, cuts, bulges, nails or screws.

Tread depth: The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre. Be sure to check your tyre tread depth regularly so you drive safely and legally.

Tyre pressure: It’s essential to check your tyre pressures on a regular basis as incorrect pressure can affect your car’s performance in a lot of key handling and safety areas. Such as, how quickly you can brake, your accuracy in handling corners, increase the potential for premature tyre wear and the impact on fuel consumption.

Alloy wheel damage: When driving or parking your car, it is common to scuff or scratch the alloy wheels. Get in touch with a specialist repairer who can help with cosmetic repairs.

A flat battery

If you haven’t driven your car in a while or your car has used its power in other ways (the radio, lights left on, etc.) then you could be faced with a dead battery which means you’ll have to jump-start the car or call a technician to get it fixed. Driving your car regularly for an extended period of time can help to avoid this. Research your car make and model to see what the advice is to avoid your battery running out. 

A chipped windscreen

Small chips can turn into large cracks that cannot be repaired. Fixing a small chip or crack is much more cost-effective than replacing an entire windscreen and is often covered by your car insurance policy. So it’s important to check your windscreen regularly for chips and to get them fixed as soon as possible by a specialist company, like Auto Glass.

How to make sure your car is roadworthy

Here are some ways to prepare your car for the road or a long journey, keeping you and your passengers safe along the way.

 Check your engine oil level

It is important to make sure you have sufficient engine oil  before driving your car. To check your oil  you can follow the below instructions:

  1. Make sure your car is on flat / level ground
  2. Warm the engine by starting the car
  3. Once the egnine is at normal operating temperature, turn off the engine and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle
  4. Pull out the oil dipstick, and wipe it clean with a rag or cloth
  5.  Put the clean oil dipstick back into the hole for a short period of time, then remove it
  6. The oil mark should sit between the two markings, if it is below the mark, you will need to top up your oil

Every model of car is different, so please refer to your car user manual when checking and refilling your engine oil. Furthermore, some newer models of cars do not have dipsticks, but have alerts on the dashboard to warn you when the engine oilis low, always refer to your car’s user manual.

 Check your tyre pressure

Checking the pressure of your tyres is very important, as it directly affects the performance and safety of your car.

Before you can check your tyre pressure, you will need to have a proper pressure gauge that is suitable for measuring the pressure of your particular car. If you don’t have one at home, you can likely find this at your local service station.

  1. If you have one of these available, you can begin the process of checking your tyre pressure. Follow the steps below to check your tyre pressure.
  2. Check your car user manual to find the correct tyre pressure for your car. The pressure may differ between front and rear wheels.
  3. Remove the screw cap on the air valve of your tyre. Place your pressure gauge over the air valve, make sure this is properly secure.
  4. You will then be able to read the pressure of your tyre on the gauge. This will tell you whether or not your tyre needs to have air pumped into it.
  5. If your tyre does have low pressure, attach the air hose to the valve to increase the pressure. Be sure to increase the pressure to the correct level according to your car user manual.
  6. Screw the cap onto the tyre air valve.

Some cars have monitoring systems in them that can track tyre pressure. If your car has this system please refer to your car user manual to learn how to reset your monitoring systems after setting the pressures.

Check your washer fluid level

Checking your washer fluid before driving your car is important because it helps to protect you should anything block your vision when you’re driving. It’s very simple to check your washer fluid, here is a step-by-step guide on how to check at home:

  1. You’ll find your washer fluid reservoir beneath the bonnet of your car. Refer to your car’s user manual to pinpoint exactly where this is within your vehicle.
  2. Remove the cap and look inside to check the water levels within the container. If the tank is full you won’t need to do anything.
  3. If the washer fluid is low or empty, pour some more into the container until it is full.
  4. Before closing the bonnet of your car, screw/push the cap of the container into place. 

Clean your car

Cleaning your car not only makes it look nicer, but it eliminates any risk of large pieces of dirt or debris from coming loose and causing danger to yourself or other drivers.

You can get your car cleaned at your local garage or car wash or you can do it at home yourself. Be sure to clean the car with soapy water regularly.

Always check your car’s user manual before beginning any works on your car. 

The importance of servicing your car

A simpler way of avoiding general potential problems with your vehicle is to get it serviced regularly. Even though getting your car serviced isn’t a legal requirement, it is important because it can avoid small problems becoming large ones, save you money and keep your car safe whilst it’s on the road.

Making sure your car is ready and safe to drive is crucial before any journey. At Allianz Assistance, we offer a range of Mobility and Automotive products, such as Roadside Assistance and Extended Warranty. We can provide you with the peace of mind that you deserve when you are out on the road.

At Allianz Assistance, we offer a range of products to help protect you throughout your life. Be that when you’re driving, on holiday or at home; browse our range of products here.