Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
October 11, 2010

Is Your Car Safe to Drive? Review Our Car Safety Checklist

Please take a few moments to review our list of helpful tips to keep you and your car safe:

  • Plan to perform standard car maintenance twice a month. Keep a record of what is done and the mileage each time.
  • You must check the car’s oil on a regular basis in order to prevent engine damage. With the car on a level surface, locate the dipstick, remove it and wipe it clean. Then place it all the way back in, pull it back out and note the oil level on the stick. The level should be between the marks on the stick. If it isn’t, adjust accordingly. Always use the oil that is recommended in the owner’s manual.
  • You should note that having too much oil can be problematic. This can cause the oil to foam up and not protect the engine parts. Be sure to judge carefully when adding oil to your car.
  • With automatic transmissions, you must also keep up with the transmission fluid. After driving the car for five to ten minutes, park on a level surface, then move the gear shift lever through each gear. Return the car to “park” and turn the ignition off. Locate the transmission dipstick and check to see if the fluid falls below the “add” line. If it falls short, fill to the proper level with the recommended amount of transmission fluid.
  • Always check the tires for adequate inflation. Even a small amount of under-inflation can decrease the tire’s life by ten percent and possibly cause blowouts. Be sure that the tires function consistently with the design of the car. Read the label on the inside of the driver’s door that specifies the proper amount of air in the tires. Do not go by the number printed on the tire.
  • Never let the gas tank fall below one-quarter full. This will reduce pressure on the gas pump and ensure that it functions normally.
  • You should run the air conditioner for at least five minutes a day when the outside temperature is 50 degrees or higher. This keeps the A/C system lubricated and ready to cool the interior of your vehicle.
  • Stay highly visible to other drivers on the road. In addition to daylight running lights on some vehicles, keep your headlights on at all times.
  • Remove trash and other loose objects inside your vehicle. If you must keep items in your vehicle, such as a coffee cup or tissue box, be sure to secure these items carefully. Should you make a sudden stop or get into an auto accident, these types of items may cause injury to you and/or your passengers.
  • In the case of a roadside emergency, stay inside your vehicle and place a sign in the window that says “Call Police” or “Send Help.” Do not stand outside your vehicle on the side of the road because you are at risk of being injured by a passing vehicle.
  • When using a cellular phone, pull into a parking lot or driveway. It is not safe to pull your car to the shoulder of the roadway.

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