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The Importance of Safety Inspections: How Safe Is Your Car?

Having a safe car is important, whether you are driving back and forth to work every day or are planning on taking a long drive or trip. Basic safety inspections are a great way to determine whether or not your car is safe enough to meet your demands.

This article will feature some tips on how to complete a basic safety inspection at home, plus some tips on how to improve the overall safety of your car. Fluids, tires, lights and other auto safety equipment should all be checked on a regular basis for optimum performance. Visit your insurance agent in New Bedford for more tips on safe driving and proper maintenance of your vehicle.

Step One – Fluids
The fluids inside your car are used to help regulate temperature, properly lubricate your engine and keep everything running smoothly. Make sure your car is parked on a level surface. Start with a cold engine, as fluids tend to expand when they are heated. For safety, it is also important to never open your radiator cap if it is hot and under pressure. Uneven surfaces can give false readings, causing you to overfill or under-fill your fluid levels.

Your oil needs to be changed on a regular basis. Whether you do it yourself at home or your visit a local oil and lube shop to have it done professionally in New Bedford, fresh oil can help to protect your engine and prevent wear caused by grit and other particles that form in older oil. Other fluids, such as transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid and coolant, are also essential to the proper running of your vehicle. Your transmission fluid levels should be checked while the engine is running and your car is in park.

Step Two – Tires
Many car owners in New Bedford overlook the importance of checking the tires. A lot is riding on your tires – literally. Tires move your car down the road, take corners, hold up to quick stops, move water from the roadway and absorb shock for you and your passengers. Inspect the tires carefully, removing any stones you find in the tread.

Check the depth of your tire tread. It must be more than 1/16 of an inch. One rule of thumb is to use a penny to measure. If the Lincoln’s head on your penny is at least partially covered by the tread, then your tire tread is good. If it doesn’t cover it,  it’s time to get new tires.

Tire pressure is another thing that must be checked. Look at your car’s manual to see what pressure level should be used for optimum gas mileage and performance. Some car owners inflate their tires higher than recommended to improve gas mileage. However, make sure you are doing this at a safe level.

Tires also need to be rotated on a regular basis. One way to ensure that this is done on schedule, rotate your tires whenever you do an oil change. Tires should be rotated front to rear to ensure even wear. Check your spare tire as well. You don’t want to find out in the middle of the night on a dark road that your tire is flat or worn beyond use.

Step Three – Safety Equipment
Even your auto safety equipment needs to be safety checked to ensure that it is in good condition and operating properly. Check each seat belt and look it over for damage or wear. The belt should retract fully when released. Engage the buckle and tug on it hard to ensure that it holds properly.

Air bags should also be checked regularly. Turn the engine on and let it idle. Your air bag light should come on and then go out. If the light comes on and stays on, it could indicate that you have a problem. If this occurs, consult your vehicle manual or visit your local car dealer to have your air bags inspected for safety.

All of the lights on and in your car should be checked as a part of your basic safety inspection. Brake lights, reverse lights, headlights, rear lights, driving lights and dashboard lights should all be inspected. Also check the seat belt lights and door lights, to ensure that they give the proper warning if a door is ajar or unlocked and that you are warned if passengers aren’t wearing seat belts. While you’re at it, check the horn as well to ensure that it is working properly.

Step Four – Hoses and Belts
Inspecting your hoses for damages or cracks should be part of your basic safety inspection as well. Exposure to heat and fumes from the engine can cause hoses to harden. Hardening can lead to leaking and cracking. If your hoses don’t seem to be flexible, replace them. If you discover anything that you are unsure of, either replace it or consult with a professional mechanic that you trust.

Drive belts, water pump belts and alternator belts, as well as any other belts inside your engine, should also be checked on a regular basis as well. Check for proper tension and look for damage that can come from normal wear and tear. When it comes to belts, make sure to have the work done by a professional mechanic in New Bedford. If you decide to still change a belt on your own, make sure you draw a diagram so you will know how the new belt should be positioned within the engine.

How to Improve Your Car’s Safety
Speak with your insurance agent in New Bedford for more information about improving your auto safety equipment and the importance of conducting a basic safety inspection. Also, review your car insurance policy to ensure that you are properly insured and protected. Find out if there are any special offers with regard to auto safety equipment that may have come standard with your vehicle, or that you have added later.

Car insurance is meant to protect you, your passengers and the investment that you have made in your vehicle from damage, loss or theft. Your insurance agent in New Bedford can help you choose the type of coverage and plan that will best suit your unique needs. Performing regular basic safety inspections, installing auto safety equipment and making sure that you have the right car insurance policy can all work together to improve the overall safety of your vehicle.