May Car Keeping Tip 20: The Safety Checklist

You get in your car and you expect that it will start right up, right? Well, without regular maintenance you just may find yourself one morning with a car that will not start! The potential problems of a car not properly maintained include reduced performance, air quality and highway safety, not to mention the additional repair costs.

To increase awareness, May is car keeping month, to encourage everyone to think about their cars and the importance of regular maintenance.

The Car Inspection Test

Volunteers from around the country arrange inspection events to see how the average car stacks up. Out of 722 cars that were tested in 12 states 80% failed in one or more portion of the inspection. This is where they failed:

Fluids and Lubricants

Fluids and Lubricants

  • engine oil – 32%
  • washer fluid – 23%
  • coolant – 21%
  • transmission fluid – 17%
  • power steering fluid – 15%
  • brake fluid – 14%

When your fluids run too low you are risking costly damage to internal parts. Dirty fluids can cause problems, as well.

Windshield Wipers

Windshield Wipers

The study showed that 15% of front windshield wipers and 10% of rear wipers did not pass the safety requirements. Windshield wipers are vital to safe driving and should be checked once in a while. Ideally, you should replace your blades every 6 months.


Lights are important to see and be seen on the road. You have to let other drivers know when you are stopping or turning and dash lights let you know what is going with your car. Because lights are so important when it comes to safety, these failure results are quite surprising:

  • brake lights – 9%
  • license plate lights – 10%
  • side marker lights – 3%
  • backup lights – 3%
  • turning lights – 3%
  • dash lights – 2%
  • parking lights and tail  lights – 3%

Checking your lights only takes a few minutes and for your safety and the safety of others, it is well worth the effort.

Safety-Related and Engine Parts

These parts affect the reliability of your engine, if they fail you could face serious problems. This percentage of cars failed:

  • air filter – 18%
  • check engine light – 9%
  • belts – 18%
  • PCV filter – 7%
  • radiator cooling fan – 2%
  • hoses – 7%
  • horn – 2%
  • mirrors – 2%

Bottom Line

Also check your battery to make sure connectors are free of corrosion and all cables and clamps are secure. Check your tires for sufficient tread and proper pressure. A well maintained car will last longer and run smoother. Does your car pass the safety checklist?

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