If your car is sat on the curb, gathering dust in a garage or not doing much on the driveway, it’s important that you still undergo daily car checks to ensure that your motor still has a clean bill of health.
The longer your vehicle sits there unused, the more chance that you’ll encounter mechanical problems, bodywork issues and things not running smoothly when you’re finally ready to get out on the road again.
To help keep your car in tip-top condition and prepared for when called upon, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow daily car checklist that can save both money and lives. Need to remember these essential car checks? Think F.L.O.W.E.R: fuel, lights, oil, water, electrics and rubber.
The lifeblood of your motor vehicle, it’s important that you leave a decent amount in the tank for when the time comes to turn the ignition. Not only will failing to keep on top of fuel hamper your chances of going anywhere, but it can also be detrimental to your car too, causing damage to a number of areas.
Driving on empty can affect the catalytic converter, cause the fuel pump to overheat and wear out prematurely and even draw up debris from the bottom of the fuel tank.
Lights are often the first thing to give up the ghost when your car is left unattended for large amounts of time. Though they’re not a necessity in regards to the vehicle running properly, faulty lights are a safety hazard and will land you in hot water with the law.
You should check all of your lights once a week; this includes both front and rear lights as well as brake lights, fog lights, indicators and reverse lights.
Oil is absolutely essential to your vehicle, so don’t let it become an afterthought. You should be checking your oil levels regularly regardless of whether your car is being used or not, as low oil levels can cause catastrophic damage to your car’s engine.
Use the right type of oil and check at least every couple of weeks – especially after your car has been sat unused for some time or before long journeys.
Especially important during the warmer weather, checking your water should also be a vital part of regular checks on your car. Engines overheating are the cause of thousands upon thousands of breakdowns across Britain each year, especially during the summer months.
You should check that the levels aren’t too low, search for any leaks and also check that the coolant level lies between ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’ when the engine is cold.
Whether keeping you safe or ensuring that the kids are entertaining in the back, your vehicle’s electrics are incredibly important – and there’s plenty of them too.
A flat battery is the most common cause of your worries with a sedentary vehicle, and you’re able to read more on this with our in-depth guide on how to stop a car battery going flat. As well as the car’s battery, you should also check the likes of your heaters (especially when it comes to winter) and those lights we mentioned earlier too.
Another massive safety feature and a common cause of accidents and breakdowns are your vehicle’s tyres. From tyres falling flat over the course of time to more problematic punctures, it pays to keep an eye on the pressure of your tyres. If this is something you’re unfamiliar with, you can find out all you need to know by clicking here.
As well as tyre pressures you should check your tread before hitting the tarmac, and while you’re there, it’s a good idea to check for any bulges, splits and tears in the tyre too.
Legally, your vehicle should have a tread of 1.6mm. A simple means of checking this is by using a 20 pence coin and inserting it into the groove of the tread; able to see the outer ring of the coin? This means that your tyre tread level is too low.
If you’re worried about being out and about on the road after your car has been sat unused for some time, it always pays to make sure you’ve invested in breakdown cover for that extra peace of mind.
You’re able to find out all about the importance of vehicle cover as well as more essential advice and motoring information on our vehicle cover blog page.