As this week is Road Safety Week, AA Ireland is calling on motorists to make sure their vehicle is in proper running order by carrying out the necessary checks
With traffic volumes back to 95% of pre-pandemic levels, and with more people returning to work in offices, the AA is also encouraging all motorists to allow extra time as part of their commute, as well as being particularly mindful of vulnerable road users.
Here is a list of helpful checks to carry out in order to avoid a breakdown, including checking the condition of your tyres, starting your engine and checking your wipers.
Check the Condition of Your Tyres
Wednesday 6th of Oct is ‘Tyre Safety Day’
As the rain and typical winter weather makes a return, we will begin to see more and more cars return to the road. If your car has been idle for a significant period of time, your tyres may have lost some pressure so checking this ahead of the school run or trip to the office should be a priority.
It is also important to check the current condition of your tyres to ensure they are road-legal. In Ireland, the minimum legal requirement for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm. “Our AA Rescue team tells us to replace your tyre when the tread depth falls below 3mm in order to best protect the safety of you and your family,” said Anna Cullen of AA Ireland.
Start your Engine
“As is the case with your tyres, a car being idle for a lengthy period of time can lead to a weak or faulty battery refusing to start when you first use the car again. Batteries generally should be replaced every five years – but if you haven’t replaced yours in a longer period of time than this it’s quite likely that having been idle your car may struggle to start,” adds Cullen.
This is also a great chance to carry out some pre-winter car maintenance. Weaker batteries struggle even more when the temperature dips. So, if your battery is nearing the end of its lifetime, then get it replaced now and avoid a cold stint in the hard shoulder.
Check Under the Bonnet
Take some time now to help get your car ready for the winter. It’s important to check that you have the right amount of coolant, and if necessary, top it up with the correct type of antifreeze.
“Our AA Rescue team tells us that while you’re checking your coolant, don’t forget to check the engine oil and top it up if necessary. Depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines you may need to check the oil level up to every fortnight and particularly before any lengthy journey,” says Cullen.
Cullen also adds that “if you find that your car is using oil at a high rate it may be a sign that the engine is an issue and you should seek urgent assistance”.
Check the Boot
As well as checking the coolant and oil by going under the bonnet, it’s important to check the condition of your spare wheel, if you have one. Check that any emergency tools which came with the car are still in working condition. Familiarising yourself with how to use these tools can help prevent some roadside panic if you do happen to break down or experience a punctured tyre.
Check your Wipers for Wear and Tear
“As we edge closer to winter you’re likely to need your wipers more and more, meaning it is important that you check the current condition of the blades,” says Anna Cullen from AA Ireland.
When they become worn, wiper blades will smear the windscreen and potentially reduce your visibility. Changing the wiper blades before they reach this stage (in general a set of wiper blades should last 12 months) makes driving safer for you, but also reduces the risk to other road users should your visibility be reduced on a dark, wet winter’s night.
Keep car lights clean and working
See and be seen. Keep all lights clean and working – don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights. In bad weather, wipe them over with a damp cloth during driving breaks.
Ensure your battery is working correctly
Batteries generally should be replaced every five years – ensuring your battery is replaced before it reaches its life expectancy could save a great deal of inconvenience and time at the side of the road. If your car is struggling to start it’s usually a sign that the battery is weak. That will certainly catch you out when the weather is colder as batteries have to work harder in low temperatures.
Keep rodents out of your vehicle
With the weather getting colder and wetter, your vehicle is the perfect nesting location for rodents. Ensure you avoid this happening by carrying out these checks as stated in our blog post, including not leaving cat or dog food near your vehicle, running the engine regularly, spraying deterrent smells and using bright lights.
You can read more on vehicle safety checks on The AA’s Blog.
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This week is road safety week and so AA Ireland is calling on motorists to make sure their vehicle is in proper running order by carrying out the necessary checks. With traffic volumes back to 95% of pre-pandemic levels, and with more people returning to work in offices, the AA is also encouraging all motorists to allow extra time as part of their commute, as well as being particularly mindful of vulnerable road users.