Make sure you are Winter ready: 12 basic RSA approved vehicle maintence checks.

enter alt text

1. Tyres - Check all the tyres on your car so that they have even pressure. Incorrect tyre pressure can reduce a tyre’s life and affects fuel consumption. The best time to check the pressure of tyres is when they are cool. You will usually find the recommended tyre pressure for normal driving in the car’s manual. Don't forget to keep the spare tyre inflated as well, and that temporary use spare tyres typically require significantly more air pressure.

2. Battery - Worn out and flat batteries are reported as one of the most common causes of breakdowns in Ireland. During harsh conditions a battery’s capacity is reduced, as is its ability to accept charge, the results of which can be difficulty or failure to start your vehicle. Ensure your battery is checked at it’s next due service.

3. Lights - Check that head, parking, indicator, brake and reversing lights are working.

4. Engine Oil Level - Engine oil lubricates, cleans, protects and cools the car’s engine. It is very important that the oil and oil filter are both changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. Failure to maintain the correct oil level and carry out the necessary oil/filter changes can result in extensive and costly engine damage.

5. Coolant & Antifreeze - A car engine produces a lot of heat when operating and so must be cooled constantly. Check the coolant level in your car is correct as a low coolant level can result in your engine overheating. The coolant tank is usually located under the bonnet. In the majority of modern cars it’s made of a transparent material and has a maximum and minimum mark on the exterior. If in doubt, please refer to the owners manual

6. Power Steering Fluid - Ensure that the level of power steering fluid (located under the bonnet) is checked regularly between services. The power steering fluid tank is also made of a transparent material. There are usually readings for hot and cold conditions as illustrated opposite.

7. Break Fluid - Check the brake fluid level in your vehicle. This is usually a transparent plastic container located under the bonnet (please refer to the owner’s manual for more information). This allows you to inspect the fluid level inside the container without the need to remove the filler cap. Opening the cap to check the fluid level is not recommended as this can result in contamination. A thorough inspection of the brakes cannot be carried out unless the wheels are removed from the vehicle. Therefore it is very important that your vehicle is serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

8. Windscreen Wash - Check the level of windscreen wash (pictured below) regularly and top up as necessary

9.Windscreen & Wipers - Check all window cleaning and demisting equipment is fully operational. The windscreen demister, windscreen washer pump and rear window heater are essential in maintaining good visibility. Examine wiper blades for wear and replace as necessary.

10. Safety Kit - Be prepared for all eventualities when taking to the road. The RSA strongly recommends that motorists carry a number of essentials in the boot of their car including:

  1. High visibility vest and a working torch
  2. A hazard warning triangle
  3. Tow Rope
  4. De-icing equipment (for glass and door locks)
  5. Spare bulbs
  6. First aid kit
  7. A fire extinguisher

11. Tool Kit - Most modern cars come equipped with a small tool kit, especially those with a spare wheel. Check that all necessary parts such as the car jack, axle stands, wheel brace etc. are in the kit.

12. Warning Lights - Examine the vehicle dashboard for warning lights. If any warning lights are showing up it is very important to get the vehicle checked out by your local garage or main dealer