5 Most Important Vehicle Checks before Driving Off | all about cars

5 Most Important Vehicle Checks before Driving Off

To maintain the vehicle performance to the best possible condition when you’re driving off and ensure vehicle safety it is very important to always check the vehicle before driving, it is the responsibility of the driver to conduct the checking. We listed the 5 most important vehicle checks before driving off, always keep it a habit that when you drive check the following.


1. Lights
Check the functionality of lights. Switch on all the lights and observed if the lights is functioning properly. Head light, emergency lights, signal lights, brake lights, reverse lights and park lights are the most important.

2. Engine Oil
Check the engine oil level. Checking should be done on the morning before starting the car the engine oil level should be within the range of the minimum and maximum as indicated on the dipstick.


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Engine Oil Dipstick

It is very important to keep your engine oil level within the required range, because it reduces wear and frictions in the pistons, bearings and other moving parts inside the engine. Oil also serves as coolant as it cools the engine by absorbing heat from some engine components where heat spots occur and transfer the heat to the oil pan where it is dissipated into the air. The engine oil must be replaced because oil loses its effectiveness by carbon or metal particles as well as the viscosity are decrease.

If the engine oil is not replace on a certain period it the engine wear out quickly and will be damage by corrosion, also engine will overheat. It will also reduce fuel economy and engine power will decrease, much worst engine seizure will happen.

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Engine Lubrication
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Usually engine oil must be replaced every 5000 km or 3 months whichever comes first depending on how severe is the driving condition. Severe driving means driving on the dusty areas, repeated short distance driving, towing a trailer or extensive idling.

3. Fluids
Look underneath the car if there are any unusual droplets of any fluid on the ground, if none check the fluid level.

Engine coolant is necessary for cooling the engine, and an ethylene glycol anti-freeze is required to be added in soft water with the proper mixture because the engine coolant functions as anti-freeze, anti-corrosion, and will raise the coolant boiling point.

Check the coolant level of the radiator. Make sure that there is enough coolant on the radiator and that the radiator is no leak. Also include on the checking the coolant reservoir. If you travel on a cold area, the recommended coolant mixture is 40%-50%, however during summer season use a 30% coolant mixture ratio. If you drive the vehicle hard enough it is necessary to change the coolant earlier than usual.

Check the level of the brake fluid. On the fluid reservoir there is an indication of minimum and maximum range, the level of the brake fluid should be within that range.

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Brake Fluid Image credit

Also it is necessary to replace brake fluid according to maintenance schedule because brake fluid will deteriorate by moist in air mixing with fluid through brake hose or reservoir tank cap. It also deteriorates by oxidation due to friction heat. If brake fluid deteriorates, it may cause the corrosion inside the cylinder. If brake fluid contains moist, the boiling point becomes lower. As brake fluid is used under severe conditions, vapor lock may easily occur as a result of brake fluid boiling. Usually brake fluid is replace every 40,000 km or 24 months whichever comes first.

Check the electrolyte level of the battery by removing the filler cap. Look into the filler hole, the battery fluid must cover the top of the battery plates. If the fluid does not cover the top of the battery plates, top up the fluid using distilled water until the battery plate top is submerged. But for maintenance free battery you cannot top up the fluid because the filler cap is sealed. Battery fluid evaporate mainly due to heat of engine, if the fluid is not within the specified level, battery will deteriorates rapidly because the plate inside the battery is oxidized.

Also check the battery connections to the terminals and the cable tightness check the tightness of the cable and terminal by shaking it with hand.
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Battery Terminal
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4. Tires
Check the condition of tires, if there is any crack, bulging or damage. Tire inflation pressure must also be check if within the recommended pressure set by the car manufacturer. The recommended tire inflation pressure is usually found on the sticker or label adhered on the driver side door opening of the car. Using a tire pressure gauge verify if the inflation pressure is the same as the recommended pressure to prolong the life of the tire and avoid tire problem like uneven tire wear. Include in your checking the spare tire.

5. Tools
Check all necessary tools if available and functional. Make sure that tools like Jack and tire wrench is available. Also Early Warning Device (EWD) must be included in your accessories.

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