These vehicle safety checks are to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy before you start to drive.
If these checks are carried out on a regular basis they will help keep you safe and save you money, as a car that is well looked after and maintained breaks down less, if at all, and is worth more when you come to sell it.
POWDER and FLOWER are two acronyms that can be used to help you to remember the checklist that all drivers should carry out before starting any journey.
They are really the same checklist with slightly different terms used, pick whichever one you can remember and feel happy with.
PETROL- Check fuel gauge to ensure you have enough for the journey and make sure you plan fuel stops into your route in good time to avoid running out of petrol.
OIL- Check engine oil level with engine cold (or at least wait 10 mins after switching off to allow oil to return to the sump) and on a level surface. Also check level of brake, clutch and power steering fluid (check manufacturers handbook for exact checks applicable to your vehicle). Don’t wait for the red oil pressure warning light to come on. This is not a low level warning, although a low oil level may cause it to illuminate, engine damage will probably have occurred by the time it illuminates. If your car uses oil between services consider taking a small bottle of the correct oil to top up if needed on a long journey see manufacturers handbook.
WATER- Check and top up water/antifreeze mix in radiator/header tank (using just water will dilute the antifreeze with the possibility of winter engine damage due to freezing) SAFETY FIRST! ENSURE ENGINE IS COLD BEFORE REMOVING THE RADIATOR/HEADER TANK CAP (Cap maintains a pressure higher than atmospheric to raise the boiling point of the water in the cooling system. If you remove the cap with the system hot it may turn instantly to pressurised steam with a high risk of severe scalding!) Also check and top up the water/screenwash mix in the screen washer bottle.
Damage- Check for damage to bodywork, wheels, mirrors and glass also check that it is clean inside and out.
ELECTRICS- Check the horn is working (off road). Clean and check all exterior lights including hazard warning and fog lamps. Check dash warning lights are working and that they extinguish when they should.
RUBBER- Check wiper blades to ensure that they are not split, hardened or perished. Check and adjust tyre pressures with tyres cold (check handbook as different pressures may be needed with higher speeds and a fully loaded car). Check tyre tread in a few places and across the tyre to ensure that it is more than the legal minimum of 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tread area (allowing more to compensate for the journey. It is better and safer to change tyres before they get near the 1.6 legal limit!) Also check for any cuts or bulges in the inner and outer sidewalls.
Start with a visual check for damage to the exterior of the vehicle.
Fuel- Same as before but this may be a better option if you run a diesel vehicle
Lights- Clean and check all exterior lights looking for blown bulbs including hazard warning and fog lamps.
Oil- Same as before
Water-Same as before remembering SAFETY FIRST! ENSURE ENGINE IS COLD BEFORE REMOVING THE RADIATOR/HEADER TANK CAP
Electrics- Same as before.
Rubber-Same as before.