We’ve had quite a fandango in our house of late, it’s like musical cars over here. Cars come and go all the time with us. It is an occupational hazard, literally. The kids and I have been turfed out of our vehicle of choice and booted into another, all good. Well, it’s not bad but it’s not as simple as just hoping from one drivers seat to another, not with two kids in tow. Nothing is simple anymore, right? What is more we’re heading away this weekend so the car really does need to be top working order. Mr Tammy will have an embolism if, for some reason,we break-down, get stuck or anything other than getting from our house to our holiday house in one easy drive happens.
So with that in mind here is my (OK Mr T’s, or his father’s) car smart, safe and up to date checklist that is worked through every time our ride is replaced (every few months like) or every time we embark on a long drive (every few weeks, like). Really though they are basic things that can be done on the regular to ensure your car is smart, safe and up to date.
Has the car been serviced? A service is a great way to ensure your car is safe and up to date. A service will check your oil and filter, your break discs and pads, lights, exhausts, car battery, tyres and so on. It is a full health check for a car that covers more than an MOT. It will also help to sell your car in the long run if it has full service history. All cars require a service at different times so check your manufacturers guide as to when your car should be serviced.
Without a valid MOT your car is not deemed road worthy, essentially it is not safe for you, your passengers or other road users.An MOT must be undertaken at either;
- the third anniversary of its registration or the anniversary of its last MOT,
- if it’s over 3 years old.
MOT testing stations can be found nationwide and can also be booked online by websites like Ossett Tyre House. It’s not only legal it is basic car safety that ensures car is indeed road safe and in sound working order.
3. Tyre pressure/tread
Oh is my father in law hot on this. I kid you not he was checking my tyre pressure and pumping my tyres on Christmas day, Christmas Day. I mean I love him for it, he wanted to make sure the kids and I were safe for our 100 mile drive on Boxing Day but you know, Christmas Day. The legal limit for your tyre tread is 1.6mm, anything less than that is dangerous. Simple as. You can use a tread gauge to check your tread, it takes seconds. Also, did you know that if you are stopped and your tyre is found to be under the legal tread limit you could receive three points on your licence and up to a £2,500.00 fine? PER TYRE! For your tyre pressure your manufactures handbag will contain all the information you need.
4. Oil and Water
The blood of the car, as my Grandad would say. Check it regularly i.e. every 3000 -3500 miles and especially
before long drives. Without it your car will not work and it will probably require a very.very expensive fix, if it can be fixed that is. Water, just as important as it helps to keep your car cool, without which it will over heat and you guessed, not work. My Auntie and I were once stuck across the Severn Bridge in Wales a good distance from our home in Bristol when her car had zero water in and kept over-heating. It was a long wait in the dark for the RAC and Grandad Ted to come rescue us.
I know this isn’t the most glamorous of topics but it’s importance cannot be under estimated. As I have said previously in a former life I was a lawyer working for insurance companies defending catastrophic injury claims from people injured in car accidents. Not all of these were through faulty driving but also poorly maintained cars. Cars with faulty breaks, or illegal tyres. These people suffered life changing injuries that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Taking the time to ensure we are road smart, safe and up to date is worth every second.