1. Warning Lights:
Always keep an eye on your gauges, identifying a problem early can mean the difference in a simple repair and a costly one. Check all brake lights, day time running lights (DRL) and headlights regularly.

2. Vital Fluids:
a. Oil – Always make sure your oil is changed regularly and is at the full mark. The oil pressure gauge needs to be in the normal range at all times or have it checked immediately.

b. Coolant Level- NEVER REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP WHEN THE CAR IS HOT! Always check your radiator when the car is cold. The reservoir has a cold and hot mark for the coolant level there should be coolant in there at all times. Water temperature is very important. A leaking radiator hose can drain the radiator surprisingly fast. If you are driving your car without water in the radiator, your temperature gauge will show you how hot the water temperature is. Never operate your car if it is in the red area of the gauge. Most cars operating temperature is between 190-210 degrees Fahrenheit.

c. Automatic Transmission Fluid-When checking the transmission fluid the car needs to be running and in PARK.

d. Windshield wiper fluid-Refill only with windshield wiper fluid. The level is very easy to check.

e. Brake Fluid-check by looking at the master cylinder and comparing the full line with the fluid level.

3. Tires:
a. Tire Pressure – Always maintain the manufacturers recommended tire pressure, never over inflate your tires. When you are traveling long distances or going thru the dessert, your tires build up extra tire pressure. Never drive with under inflated tires either. Your tires need the proper tire pressure in order to provide the needed stability in the side wall to keep your car driving safely.

b. Tire wear – cracks, bulges, or puncher marks can be a sign that your tires need to be replaced. Check your tires wear bars to gauge tread wear.

4. Seat Belts:
a. Always use your seat belts every time you get in the car. As the driver it is your responsibility that everyone in your car is fastened securely. Always use the shoulder belts in conjunction with the lap belt, they were designed to work together.

b. Make sure all safety belts are working properly, they need to stay fastened after clicking in and also need to release flawlessly when you push the button. I case of an emergency you want your safety belts to be in perfect working order.

5. Air Bags:
Make sure the air bag light is not on while driving, if your air bag light is on this means your air bag is non operational.

6. Main Drive Belt:
Look for a glazed or cracked drive belt, without this belt your car will not operate. Also check the drive belt tensioner, this device hold tension against the drive belt to assure proper operation.

7. Distractions:
Distractions – Drivers of today are faced with more distractions than ever before. Cell phones, pagers, walkie talkies, passengers and drive thru food make driving the second priority. Try to minimize these and many other obvious distractions so your next drive will be a safe one.

8. Emergency Road Kits:
a. All vehicles should be equipped with some basic supplies. Medical- Bandages, band aids, gauze wrap, Neosporin anti-biotic cream, medical tape, cold packs, ace bandages.

b. Automotive – Road Flares, a can of tire flat stop leak (will temporarily fixes and inflates your tire), reflectors, water bottles (for you and your radiator), small blanket, dried food (in case you get stranded), Tools-adjustable wrench, screw drivers, duct tape, disposable gloves, safety glasses.

9. Sun Reflections / Glare:
Every sunrise and sunset present unique problems for drivers. Morning frost and glare can make windshields difficult to see thru. Make sure to thoroughly defrost all your windows before driving. Dirty windshields pose a similar dilemma. Make it a rule to have your windshield cleaned every time you get gas. Small squeegees and a small amount of soap make great tools for cleaning windows.

Resource & Links

Find important links and answers to frequently asked questions