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How small DIY jobs can make your car safer

There are many ways to keep a car healthy. Here is how you can protect yourself from accidents or breaking down in dangerous places.

How small DIY jobs can make your car safer

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Check the oils

If you never check your engine oil, you could seize up on a motorway, which can be dangerous and ruin your engine. Do you know where your transmission oil is? If not, find out before that dies, too. Remove dipsticks, clean them, reinsert, remove again and you’ll be able to see if the level is inside the marked range. Engine oil needs to settle before testing; differential levels should be taken when the engine has been running.

Water

Don’t open the radiator if it’s too hot to touch. It may be that hot because the level is too low, but it needs to cool before you can fill it.

Lights and fuses

A light that is not working could be the result of blown or loose fuses. These are easy to change; consult the manual if you’re not sure which fuse belongs to which light. If the bulb is fried, changing it can be harder than you expect. Check in the daylight because this is not something to do in the dark!

Vehicle camera

A vehicle camera is becoming standard in some cars. All kinds of dangers exist on the road, and a small camera on the dash deters many of these while protecting you in a dispute. You can also use them to monitor blind spots, perhaps when you’re heavily laden. Check a specialist range at sites like http://www.backwatch.co.uk/.

Tyre pressures

Be sure to check tyre pressures before a long journey or the motorway. A soft tyre could destabilise steering and braking. A guide to pressures is often printed under the fuel flap or on the inside edge of a door. Some garages pin up guides near their air pump, or you can check this webpage.

Tyre tread

Rubbish tyres can kill. The rim of a 20p is the same as their minimum depth. You should also look for cuts; you don’t want a tyre coming apart on the motorway at 70 miles per hour! If you find a nail, don’t do the obvious thing and pull it out as it could be plugging the hole. Instead, put on the spare or drive to a fitter.

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