Whenever we travel in our cars we assume that they are 100-per cent roadworthy. We may do some basic checks by visually looking at the tyres, checking for water leaks or looking for general damage around the vehicle itself. However, none of us really know what we are actually looking for unless we have a trained eye. Therefore, we will take a look at some of the areas and aspects that need to look at to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. We will take a look at things such as brake pads, automotive services, engine oil change and so on.
For most of us, tyres at simply the black parts that cover the wheels on our vehicle. However, we must remember the tyres are the first and only contact with the road, so having tyres with good tread and tyres that are properly inflated is vital. If you have new tyres fitted to your vehicle, they will have been checked by the fitting company to ensure that they are the right specification, right pressure and depth for your vehicle. However, after some months of use, all vehicles will wear and often loose tyre pressure which means you have to maintain this aspect yourself. It is this maintenance that is important as you will then be able to ensure the longevity of your tyres whilst at the same time making sure that they remain roadworthy. If you properly maintain your tyres, there will be less need to fit safety tyres to your vehicle in the event of an emergency. That said, if you have a properly maintained your tyres, this should not be the case as these should only be used in extreme situations.
Brakes are a safety critical part of a vehicle and it is important that they are kept in full working order. Brakes are made up of two main components, the disc and the brake pads. You will find that in most vehicles, it is the brake pads that wear down far quicker than the brake discs. Having damaged or warped discs can affect the brake pads and wear them out quickly, so it is always important that when you change your pads, that you also get your discs checked at the same time. It has to be said that the brakes are not the easiest things to check as they are often hidden behind an alloy wheel or wheel cover. Many modern cars have brake indicators to tell you when the brakes need replacing. Most countries around the world have some form of annual safety test for vehicles. These types of tests will be able to test the braking systems on your vehicle, to make sure that all mechanical parts and components are in working order and also any electrical components, such as anti-lock brakes, are also fully functioning. Making sure your brakes are in full working order, again, will help the roadworthiness of your car.
Getting your vehicle serviced is very important as a service will often check parts of the vehicle that you may not have even heard of, For example, the timing belt or in some cases the timing chain. This part of a vehicle may not necessarily be safety-critical, but it is vital when it comes to the movement of your engine. Maintaining your timing belt or chain will ensure that your vehicle will last a very long time. If your belt or chain breaks or has any kind of mis-timing, this can damage your engine beyond repair.
All of these parts are covered under a service and a service also helps to make sure that your vehicle remains roadworthy. For instance, it takes in to account engine oil and filter changes as well as brake fluid changes. Maintaining these aspects will also help you to cut down your running costs as making sure that these parts are renewed periodically can often cut down expensive repair costs.
The final part of a service is the engine cooling system. When an engine gets warm it needs to be able to cool down by a water-cooled or air-cooled system. Making sure this system is fully operational when required is an important part of the service as this will also ensure that your vehicle remains roadworthy. Having a vehicle that overheats is not only dangerous for the occupants, it is also not very good for the engine.
The walk around
Walking around your vehicle is the easiest way that you can check if it is roadworthy. As mentioned above, if you are not fully up to speed with the mechanics of a vehicle, you can make yourself familiar with some of the aspects that you could check yourself. For example, look at the tyres as you walk around your car and make sure that they are fully inflated and not flat. Also, make sure that there are no cuts, bumps or bulges around the outer of the tyre. When you get into your vehicle and you start the engine, make sure that no warning lights come on and stay on. One rule of thumb is that you should adhere to is that if you see a red warning light, you need to stop the vehicle as soon as possible. An amber warning light indicates that there is something to be aware of but it may not be something that needs addressing immediately. That said, an amber warning light should not be ignored, as it could lead to a bigger problem.
Finally, once you have started the engine and you begin a journey, listen out for any knocks or scratching noises that you may not be familiar with. Having this basic knowledge will ensure the roadworthiness of your vehicle and it will not be something you have to worry about as you’ll have kept on top of all of these maintenance issues.