Making sure that your car is safe to be on the road is essential; this is particularly the case if you’ve bought a second hand car, and if you’re unsure whether it’s in the right condition. As well as investing in regular MOTs, and paying your road tax, you should carry out your own regular checks, and occasionally get a full inspection of your vehicle. Your car may pass an MOT, but still be deemed un-roadworthy for a number of reasons, making it important to perform some simple checks to ensure that your car is fit for purpose.
Check Your Car’s History
If you have bought a second hand, you should log onto direct.gov.uk to check its history – a V5C document and registration number should be all you need to be able to find out your car’s past MOT certificates, and the number of times that it’s been involved in repairs; this can give you an indication as to whether your car may need extra maintenance.
Run through all of your lights to make sure that they’re working properly; test your high and low beams, and test your car’s interior lights. Even if there are only a few lights that don’t work inside your car, you should get them fixed as soon as possible if you can.
Your tyre pressure should be regularly tested to ensure that you’re not running on low tread, and that they’re less likely to blow on the road. If you have a manual for your car, try to find out what your vehicle’s optimum tyre pressure should be, and match it up. Inspect your tyres for any serious wear and tear, as well as for any nicks and holes that might get larger if left unchecked.
Paying attention to the quality of your brake pads is essential if you want your car to be road worthy. Test your brakes to see if they respond in the right way to different driving conditions, and listen out for any unusual noises. Any kind of delay or difficulty in producing a response should be dealt with as soon as possible, and should be inspected by a garage if you can’t fix it yourself.
Mirrors and Windows
Inspect all of your mirrors for any cracks, as well as to see whether they move smoothly, and whether they show any evidence of having been broken off and re-attached if you’re driving a second hand car. Do the same for all of your windows, and check to see whether electric windows wind up and down easily.
Check Your Oil and Fluids
Any unusual noises and smoke from your engine should be dealt with as soon as possible; when you buy a used car, check to see whether it’s had a recent oil change, and what the record for changing its oil may be – a seller might not give you the whole truth about this, so watch out for smoke or any leaks when you open your bonnet. Also, check your windscreen washer and water levels.
Test Drive Used Cars
When buying a used car, and if you’re unsure about how road worthy it is, go for a test drive where you can watch out for slow steering, clutch issues, and any shaking – you may find that a car has been replated or stitched together from two models, which can indicate some long term problems. Bring along a friend to advise you if you’re unsure about any defects.
I’m Donna Baxter, a vehicle maintenance expert from Croydon, UK, currently living in Singapore. In my line of business I’ve naturally run into many insurance companies in my time, but I’ve got to say I would highly recommend Direct Asia. If you’re looking for a cheap car insurance quote online Direct Asia are faultless in my opinion.