Car Safety Checklist: How Safe Is My Car?
No matter the situation, keeping your car safe is always a high priority. If you have family, friends or you’re just looking after your own health, having a safe car will be able to prevent any injuries or risk of anything going wrong.
You might be due for a roadworthy inspection and want to get ahead of the game or you might be a taxi driver needing to keep your car safe for your passengers, no matter what, you’re looking for some tips to maintain for your safety.
Well, we get asked this question a lot. How can I keep my car safe? Or things like, what are your best tips on car safety.
So we decided to create a fantastic guide for everything you need to know about keeping your car safe. Not only that, but we’ve created an awesome easy-to-follow car safety checklist for you.
Let’s get straight into things.
PS: If the time has come to get your road safety certificates, feel free to book a time and date here.
Table of Contents
What Do You Mean, Car Safety?
Your car is your safe space, and is the trusted carrier for yourself and perhaps your family. If you’re like most road users, you probably use it every day.
Whether you use your car primarily for shopping, the school run or general travel, you likely will ask yourself at some point, ‘how safe is my car’?
For most people this can be a difficult question to wrap their heads around. On the outside a car may seem to be fully operational and run just fine.
However, without knowledge of the components of a car it can leave you with a lot of questions unanswered. Cars do of course have many moving parts, most of which drivers will be unfamiliar with.
The same thing applies for pre-purchase car inspections. Without knowing what you are looking for when buying a car, you may end up buying someone else’s problem.
In this guide I’ll explain the actions you can take to make your car safer to drive, as well as share a checklist with you that you can quickly use to deem your car roadworthy.
How Safe Is My Car?
Well, it’s a very good question. Car safety can be calculated by a few different areas. We’re going to be going through them with you now.
Age of your car
Driving your vehicle with the engine light showing is not the best thing to do. If at any moment your car stops working and you have to make an emergency stop, you’ll be putting yourself in danger. Any time that your car breaks down can be scary and means that other drivers are also at risk of crashing into you.
Does it have any bits hanging off?
It sounds totally obvious, but any areas that might be broken or hanging off on your vehicle will make it seriously unsafe for other road users.
If anything goes flying off into their car, you may be left with an angry driver on your case. Not only that, but it could fall and get sucked under your car and leave things damaged.
You will not pass your roadworthy with anything hanging off your vehicle 😆
Are the engine lights showing?
Open the car’s bonnet and start the engine; then, allow it idle for a moment.
Examine the car’s exhaust fumes as you start the engine and when it is allowed to idle. If the exhaust produces excessive noise, it may be due to rust; hence, the muffler needs to be replaced.
As the engine idles, listen carefully to notice engine knocking, rattling, or irregular noises.
Then, proceed to open the oil filler cap; then, check for signs of leaking fluid. Carefully examine the vehicle’s radiator coolant or fluid. Ensure that there are no defective parts in the engine compartment.
Check the battery to see any wear from regular jump starting. This might suggest that the car and battery regularly break down and need to be jump started by another car.
Is your car making any odd noises?
You’ll know if your car is making a weird noise. If it doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t. These noises could mean that something is broken or playing up and again leaves you at risk of causing a traffic collision or breaking down. It’s safe to say if you hear any unusual noises you should get your vehicle to a mechanic.
Do all of the lights work correctly?
One important area for safety are your lights. If you are driving at night your light not only shows you the road to drive on, but also warns other drivers of your presence. It’s important that you have your brake lights, and headlights working to ensure your car is at full safety.
How To Make Your Car More Safe?
The quickest and easiest way to make your car safer is to take it to a vehicle specialist. The advantage here being that an expert can take a complete look at your car.
They will diagnose any potential issues with it, and usually offer a solution on the spot. This is ideal for those who might not have the time or confidence themselves to take on the task.
By doing this, it will also prepare you for your mobile roadworthy inspection, with less chance of you failing it.
Making your car more safe might involve modifications to the vehicle, tests, or sometimes complete removal and replacement of certain parts. Once the fundamentals are checked over, you can then look at ‘bonus’ additions to your vehicle that could further enhance safety.
Here are a few of the upgrades you can make to your car to make it safer to operate
Invest in high quality tyres
The quality of your tyres is one of the most important aspects of your car. Your car’s ability to maintain traction on the road’s surface is going to directly tie into its ability to stop when you apply the brakes, as well as maintain grip when moving.
This is especially important when driving at high speeds or in wet weather conditions, where your car is going to be challenged more so than in safer, more stable conditions.
Tyres are actually one of the biggest areas we see cars fail on when it comes to roadworthy inspections. They’re also always checked by buyers and car dealerships if the time comes to sell your vehicle.
A reverse camera system
A lot of modern, mid-high end vehicles now come equipped with camera systems, but for those without, it’s now possible to install third party devices.
The premise here is quite simple: a camera is installed on the rear of your vehicle, and it is then linked up to a display on your dashboard.
This allows you to clearly see what is behind your vehicle at all times without having to rely on your mirrors or turning around in your seat. Both of which could be considered potential distractions and compromise safety.
This is an ideal upgrade for those with kids who might be causing distraction behind the driver, or people who rely on their vehicle to move tall loads which might obscure rear vision.
A blind spot awareness system
All vehicles have what is called ‘blind spots’. These are areas which can not be easily seen from inside your car, sometimes even if you have a camera system installed.
To check a blind spot, most drivers will traditionally have to turn their heads or sometimes maneuver awkwardly in their vehicle. This can be distracting, and if combined with rough weather conditions or limited visibility, potentially dangerous.
A blind spot warning system works through sensors placed in or on your vehicle. When your vehicle comes into close proximity to another vehicle or object, you’ll be instantly alerted by either a sound, a flashing light, or both.
This warning CAN give you the vital moment in time you need to avoid a collision.
Car Safety Checklist
Here’s your full car safety checklist. This safety checklist has everything you need to ensure that your car is safe. You can click on the areas to expand out extra information. Enjoy this free car safety checklist! 😁
Your dashboard safety lights are located just behind your steering wheel and serve as a visual alert if something isn’t right with your vehicle’s safety. There will be multiple lights, covering components such as your engine and doors.
If an orange light is displayed, it means the component in question should be checked over. If the light is red, it means something is seriously wrong and should be addressed immediately.
When you start your vehicle, ensure they turn on momentarily before going dark. If they don’t, it could mean something is wrong with your vehicle’s electronics.
You should routinely inspect your tyres for uneven/worn treads, misalignment, and air pressure. All of which, if not proper, can affect the handling of your car. Under inflated or flat tyres are common and can usually be identified fairly easily.
If a tyre is need of more air, you’ll see the base of the tire flattened where it meets the ground. One way to be sure of whether or not your tyres are over or under inflated is to use a tyre pressure gauge, which can be found in many service stations.
If your car struggles to start, or has issues with exterior/interior lights, your battery may be in need of replacing. Car batteries generally last about 3 years – usually if something is wrong you’ll see a notification in the form of a dashboard safety light.
If you find that you need to shift the rotation of your steering wheel to maintain a straight line, or feel any rumbling, then your steering may be misaligned.This can also be a sign that something is wrong with your tyres, so check them also.
This can be vital, steering is super important in keeping your vehicle safe. It’s best to try and get this one fixed as soon as you can.
Inspect your vehicle to check for any rust, especially around hinges, springs and joints. You should also physically test areas of your car to ensure panels and other elements are secure.
Squeaking noises may also mean that there are loose parts needing to be tightened or fixed.
Again, anything that is loose can fly off and affect the safety of other road users. It may also mean that your vehicle needs to make an emergency stop putting yourself and others at risk.
Check that both the interior and exterior lights on your vehicle are working as usual. The status of your vehicle’s directional signals as well as your head and tail lights especially are key to road safety.
Let’s be honest, it’s an obvious one. However, if you’re driving at night and you realise that your light is gone whilst it’s too late, this can really put your safety at risk. Make sure you check during the day to prevent this from happening.
Your wipers will ensure good visibility out of your car’s windows, so should be checked to ensure proper function. You should also check that there is enough window cleaning fluid in the tank.
Best to check your wipers even when it’s sunny to ensure they are working to full standards. Again, you don’t want to find out your wipers don’t work when it’s raining heavily and you can’t see anything out your windscreen.
Ensure that all the seatbelts in your vehicle are secure, work correctly, and give the correct amount of resistance when tugged on. This is key to the safety of the driver and the passenger in case of collision or sudden braking.
We don’t need to say much more about it. I think we all know about the importance of having your seatbelts working properly.
Check the doors of your car to make sure that they close correctly and lock in place. Usually if something is wrong here, you’ll get a dashboard warning light when your car is started.
You don’t want your car door latch to be broken and you get on the motorway or highway and all of a sudden it swings open. This can create a horrible noise and suction from the air and speed. This is really unsafe for you and other road users.
If your engine coolant level is low, then your car’s ability to keep the engine at an optimal temperature will be compromised. This can lead to overheating and potentially cause damage to your vehicle. Check that the level on the reservoir isn’t below the minimum, and that the colour is either a clear orange or green.
Other fluids that should be checked and maintained include the engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid and gearbox fluid. Don’t miss out on any fluids as they all help each other.
If you are low on fluids, there is a higher chance of something going wrong with your vehicle and this leads to a higher risk of a collision or unsafe journey.
If you experience any shuddering when braking, or squeaking, then it could be a sign that your brakes are in need of maintenance. Make sure to check your braking system’s fluid reservoir, and that the level is comfortably between the minimum and maximum.
Keeping your car safe is top priority. Especially if it comes to getting your mobile roadworthy done.
If you have any extra tips on car safety, please share with us in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you and all of our readers would like too as well. 😁