Checking for Car Condition
Safe driving starts with your vehicle. It is your responsibility to make sure that the vehicles you drive are safe to operate. Follow your vehicle owner's manual for routine maintenance. Choose a qualified mechanic and make an appointment with him or her if you notice any difference or change in vehicle performance.
- Braking system: only your brakes can stop your vehicle. It is very dangerous if they are not working. If you feel your car pull to one side when you stop, hear an unusual noise, or the brake pedal goes to the floor, have a mechanic check the brakes.
- Tires: if the vehicle bounces, it pulls to one side, or you hear any thumping noise, have a mechanic check it. Your tire pressure should be checked often when tires are cold. Look in your car owner's manual for the right tire pressures or ask for advice at a service station.
- Suspension system: if the vehicle bounces a lot after a bump or a stop or is hard to control, you may need new shocks or other suspension parts. See a mechanic.
- Windshield: damaged windshield glass can break easily in a minor collision or if something hits it. Have your windshield replaced if it's cracked. Keep the windshield and wipers clean.
Engine: your engine must be in good condition. Follow the procedures given in your car owner's manual for maintenance. It is important that you keep an eye on the engine temperature gauge in your car to avoid overheating.
Oil: check your engine oil on a regular basis, at least once a month. Keep an eye on the oil indicator gauge/light while driving, and if it is activated, stop immediately. This is a warning that the engine's oil level is down.
Radiator Coolant: check the radiator coolant level especially before a long trip. If the level is down, add water. Otherwise it could cause overheating and damage to the engine.
- Transmission Fluid: transmission oil needs to be replaced after 25000 - 35000 miles of driving. Check your car owner's manual. Have a mechanic check the transmission if the oil is dark in color.
- Brake Fluid: this also needs to be replaced at least once a year.
Electronic Stability Programs (ESP) track where a driver is steering the vehicle with where the vehicle is actually going. When ESP senses a disparity between the two, it selectively applies any one of the vehicle's brakes to help the driver retain control and stability