Keeping your car in a roadworthy condition

It is an accepted fact today that most drivers know little about the inner workings of their vehicles. Very few drivers on the road are also mechanics, and with the full-service nature of the car business today, drivers are not expected to understand the vehicles they are driving. But in order to be the most responsible drivers possible, it is important that everyone know the basics of their vehicle, including how to ensure that it is roadworthy at all times. Even for those drivers who are not mechanics, and who don’t wish to know much about the workings of their vehicles, can follow a few simple and easy steps to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and in good running condition.

The first easy and important step to follow to ensure that a vehicle is in top running condition is to regularly check the fluid levels in the vehicle. This step is so simple because, when checking fluid levels, the correct level is clearly marked on each reservoir. Water and antifreeze levels should be checked regularly, in order to keep the vehicle from overheating or getting too cold, depending on the weather. Water and antifreeze should both be kept handy for when the levels need topping off.

Another fluid that should be checked often is the washer fluid, with which drivers can clear a windscreen while driving. The reservoir for washer fluid should be near full at all times, and the fluid should always be clean. In the winter, there are additives which should be put with the fluid in order to keep it from freezing.

In all vehicles, the oil level should be checked often, and the oil should be changed on schedule. It is easy for every driver to check his own oil level with the dipstick in the vehicle. Simply raise the hood of a cool vehicle, remove and clean the dipstick, then place it into the oil reservoir to coat it. The dipstick will be marked to show acceptable oil levels, and the oil should always fall between these markings. If there is too little oil in the vehicle, drivers should be prepared to add more before driving anywhere. Having the oil changed regularly is vital to the health of every vehicle, and should never be ignored, as having old oil in the vehicle is nearly as bad as having no oil in a vehicle.

Checking the battery of a vehicle regularly is also important, as batteries do not last forever. In fact, most batteries have a life of about five years, after which they may fail at any time. Many repair shops and vehicle parts stores have the equipment to check battery power, and all drivers should avail themselves of these services regularly. Along with checking the battery, all electrical functions should also be checked, including all lights and indicators.

The air levels of all tires should be checked routinely, and especially before any long road trips. A pressure indicator is a simple tool to use, and drivers should check the air pressure of all tires, even the spare. A visual check is also acceptable if drivers do not wish to do a pressure check.

Finally, drivers should take their vehicles into a mechanic for regular checking of the brakes, including pads and discs. Because brakes are so important, and see so much use, they are essential to the overall health of a vehicle, and must be properly maintained. A good mechanic should be able to help a driver keep brakes in good condition.