Friday, March 26, 2010

Whenever you drive the car

In principle, you should check that the lighting system (including the brake lights and indicators) is functioning before driving on the public highway. You should also check that the windscreen wipers, washer and horn are functioning correctly. You should in theory check that the tyres – including the spare – are properly inflated, although most people just check by eye that none of the tyres have deflated. Without conscious thought, the author always checks the 'feel' of the brake pedal, just in case a hydraulic or mechanical problem has occurred since the car was last driven. It is a good practice to get into the habit of carrying out these simple checks before driving on the road, because the majority of car •breakdowns apparently occur within a few miles of the car's base, and would therefore not happen if the car was checked before being driven those few miles!
The more pessimistic amongst us also check that no new pool of oil has appeared underneath the car since it was last used. All engines hate being driven with low oil levels, and the Beetle will reward such abuse with a
breakdown and possibly major engine damage within a very few miles!
Whilst you drive, listen to the sounds of the car on the move and, if you detect any new noises (or if an established noise suddenly stops) then investigate as soon as possible. Keep an eye on the oil pressure gauge or warning light as applicable, and if the warning light comes on (or the pressure gauge reading suddenly drops) then stop the car as soon as safe to do so and investigate.
You should always carry a small emergency tool kit in the car, even for short journeys. Many such kits can be found on the market, most coming in a handy tool roll or plastic container to keep all of the tools together. These should as a minimum requirement include pliers,-side cutters, straight and cross-head screwdrivers, plus an adjustable spanner or a small selection of open-ended spanners (make sure you buy metric spanners). Always buy the best quality tools which you can afford. Supplement your in-car tool kit with a roll of self-adhesive insulating tape and perhaps a few short lengths of wire, plus including spare 16 amp and 8 amp fuses and light bulbs. On long journeys, it is wise to also carry a quantity of engine oil, a spare generator drive belt and even spare ignition components.

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