Our cars have suffered a lot over the last 12 months. For many in 2020, our cars were run without a proper safety check. That wasn’t so much of an issue while many of our vehicles sat at home but, with an end to the Coronavirus pandemic in sight, many of us will want to get back to normality as soon as we can.
But we can’t if our vehicles suffer an expensive and stressful repair first!
So what can you do to keep your car in top condition, especially if money is tight?
Introducing the Vehicle Safety Check!
Our Vehicle Safety Check is a 16-point car check to give you peace of mind quickly. During the appointment, an expert mechanic inspects the most essential parts of your car to ensure they are still in top condition. Priced at just £19.99, it’s much more affordable than a full service!
Most importantly, it’s free for anyone eligible to receive the Blue Light Card!
While your car may have seen more regular use in 2021, many will still be feeling the effects of the first lockdown. Money is tight and so car maintenance may have been ignored in 2020.
Our Vehicle Safety Check is the perfect solution to get your car running properly again for less. The average UK full service price is £182.40, so it’s over 9x cheaper while being just as thorough on the essential checks. Most importantly, it’s designed to help you catch problems quickly. This reduces running costs, future repair costs, your chances of an MOT failure and seeing your Engine Management Light!
If you suspect something is wrong with your vehicle, but you don’t have the time or money to book a full service, book a Vehicle Safety Check through BookMyGarage today! We’ll help you find the perfect fastfit, franchise or independent garage for you. Just enter your reg and postcode into our extensive UK directory to compare garages in your area and book a Vehicle Safety Check for as little as £19.99 today!
What does our Vehicle Safety Check include?
Here’s what our safety check covers. We’ve listed the 16 checks included in your appointment and why it’s important to check them.
They help you see where you’re going and allow others to see you in return. It’s vital that your lights work properly at all times to keep everyone safe. You can also be fined £50 if caught driving without proper lighting, or £100 if driving with a broken headlight.
Your horn is your early warning system. It alerts others to your presence to help you avoid danger. If it doesn’t work effectively, other drivers may not be able to avoid you in time.
Instrument Warning Lights
There are over 40 different warning lights which alert you to a problem with your car. The most common one is the Engine Management Light, but they all work to keep you informed about developing problems. If a light doesn’t work, the problem can get worse and cause a much more expensive repair later down the line!
Wipers & Washers
Your windscreen wipers keep your vision clear in poor weather conditions. That way, you can drive with more confidence and avoid danger.
Top Up Screen Wash
Screen wash keeps your windscreen clean and smudge-free to improve your visibility and help you see potential danger. If your windscreen gets covered with grit, dirt or dust and you can’t quickly wash it off, you can quite quickly get into trouble! Keep your screen wash topped up at all times.
This keeps your engine from overheating in the summer and, when mixed with Antifreeze, freezing during the winter. It also helps protect the engine so you can suffer expensive damage if your coolant isn’t maintained.
Most modern cars have plenty of electronics controlling them. These are controlled by the battery in turn, so your vehicle won’t start at all if the battery isn’t working!
Engine oil lubricates moving parts to keep your engine working properly. An oil and filter change is the most essential form of car maintenance, so you should make sure you change it every 10,000 miles. You risk expensive engine damage again if you try to run your engine without oil!
The release of brake fluid is what slows the car down and helps it stop. Your brakes cant work effectively without regular brake fluid changes and checks.
Driving with tyres set to the wrong pressure dramatically increase your tyre wear. This leads to a lack of grip and low tyre pressure increases your chances of a blowout (when the tyre explodes).
Tyre Tread & Condition
A lack of tyre tread can increase your 50 mph braking distance by around 8 metres when the road is wet and slippery! What’s more, a bald or damaged tyre is at greater risk of a blowout! This is a massive safety hazard and increases your chance of a serious accident. Keeping an eye on tyre tread and wheel alignment are two of the most important safety checks you can complete.
Your steering system keeps you in a straight line and in control of your vehicle. An inability to change direction can leave you unable to avoid a serious accident.
Poor suspension can damage the integrity of your car. This can increase tyre wear as well as your running costs (fuel usage and general repair bills)!
If your exhaust isn’t working properly, you may see an increase in emissions output. This contributes to thousands of needless deaths in the UK every year! More importantly, your exhaust system could be pumping Carbon Monoxide into your cabin. The last thing you want is to breathe in this silent and deadly killer or any unnecessary exhaust fumes.
How Do You Safety Check a Car Yourself?
There are some very simple safety checks you can complete at home. These 4 checks will ensure that your vehicle makes it to its Vehicle Safety Check appointment at all!
Check the health of your vehicle’s battery
Your car won’t start without a working battery. If your car hasn’t had regular use, the battery may be completely flat – and you won’t get to your safety check at all!
As long as your car starts, the battery is in decent enough health to get you to your appointment. A good quality battery should last around 4-5 years before the electrolysis process erodes it to such a point that it struggles to hold charge. The mechanic will be able to advise on this after they have checked the battery health.
If your battery is flat, call your recovery provider to help you charge the battery on your driveway. They may also be able to advise you on your battery health, which is information you can tell the mechanic during your Vehicle Safety Check.
Include fluid levels in your safety check
The most important fluids in a car are:
- The engine oil
- The coolant
- And the fuel level
Make sure your car has enough fuel to get you to and from the garage. Try and avoid running on fuel that’s over 6 months old, but if the tank is fairly full, the quality of fuel won’t have deteriorated too much. The more air in the fuel tank, the quicker the fuel goes bad – and poor quality fuel can damage the engine!
You should also perform a visual check on your coolant before your safety check. For the coolant, find the tank that looks like the one pictured below and check the colour. Coolant comes in green, orange, pink, red, blue and yellow, so it can be confusing to find the right one! Check your vehicle handbook to make sure you’re using the right coolant. Look out for a discolouration or any dirt or debris floating in the coolant. If you notice this, tell the mechanic that it needs draining when you arrive for your appointment.
You should also check your engine oil. To do this, first locate the dipstick at the front of the engine bay. Pull it out all the way, clean it with a cloth and then reinsert it all the way. Pull it out again and check the level and colour of the oil. It should be between the min and max lines, and be golden brown in colour. Anything else and you should book an oil and filter change as soon as possible.
If any of these areas are issues before your appointment, try and avoid driving the car as much as possible. Poor quality oil and coolant can affect performance and increase your chance of suffering expensive damage!
Conduct a tyre check
If your tyres are in poor condition, you could suffer a dangerous accident on the way to your Vehicle Safety Check. There is also a £2,500 fine and 3 points on your licence if caught with tyres in unroadworthy condition! That’s why a tyre check is a good idea.
Run your hands along each tyre while looking for any cracks, frayed rubber, a puncture or any other signs of tyre damage. If you notice any damage on one or more of your tyres, replace them before driving anywhere. Call your recovery provider for help if you don’t know how to change a tyre on your own, or don’t have enough spare wheels. Then, alert your mechanic that you need a tyre replacement during your appointment.
Driving on space saver tyres causes an MOT failure. Make sure you replace them with the correct, road legal tyres as soon as possible
You should also check your tyre pressure and tread depth as part of your tyre check. You can find the correct tyre pressures in your vehicle handbook. Check your current tyre pressures at your nearest petrol stations. Follow the instructions on the machine to inflate/deflate your tyres to the correct pressure. Cars registered after 2012 usually have tyre-pressure monitoring systems included as standard. Check your vehicle handbook for advice on how to check and use this.
Use a 20p piece to check tyre tread depth. Place the coin in the grooves of your tyres and if you can see the bottom of the inner rim, your tyres are on or below the legal limit. Your tyres should have at least 1.6mm of tread depth (the distance between the edge and inner rim of a 20p piece) to be considered road legal, but 3mm or more is best. A mechanic will be able to tell you whether your tyres need changing after your Vehicle Safety Check.
Safety check your lights
You’re responsible for making sure your lights work at all times, so knowing what bulbs need changing before arriving for your safety check can save you time.
Switch all your lights on and walk around the car. Make a note of which ones are dim or not working and get them changed during your appointment. Get someone to stand behind the car while you put your foot on the brake to test your rear brake lights as well. If you have to do it on your own, reverse close to a wall and look at the reflection of the lights in the rear view mirror.
If you haven’t driven your vehicle that much over the last year, it might not be in the best condition. With money tight, you might not want to book a full service right now, so choose a Vehicle Safety Check instead! Prices start from just £19.99, and our 16-point check will give you complete peace of mind once again. Don’t let vehicle problems hold up your return to normality. Book your Vehicle Safety Check now!
Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.