Before going on holidays or just for peace of mind, basic safety checks can be done by YOU the owner. Most if not all modern cars will show systems that can be checked by the owner with yellow or white markings (Transmission in red). Brake fluid, Clutch fluid, Washer fluid, Water and Oil are the basic checks that you can do to keep things rolling!
If the brake fluid level is low you might have worn out brake pads or worse still-a fluid leak!. Two types of brake fluid are commonly used these days. DOT 3 and DOT 4. Brake fluid specifications are usually found in your vehicle hand book or on the reservoir lid Use the correct type where possible as damage to the Brake Master Cylinder can result if the wrong fluid is used, a real issue with Toyota’s using ABS (Anti Lock Brakes) systems are used.
CAUTION… Be careful when topping up brake fluid as it will eat through the paint work if you spill even a little. Brake Fluid absorbs moisture and should be changed as per the service schedule.
See the “Brake Fluid” section.
Overlooked so often! Be sure your washers are functioning correctly, add some Bug and Tar remover or washer fluid to keep the windscreen spotless. Try to avoid adding dish-washing liquid or car wash to the washers, these soaps tend to smear the windscreen and can also promote rust!.
Wiper blades range from the cheap and nasty variety, the OK variety and the expensive “Genuine” variety. Cheaper blades never last as long and are prone to sun damage causing the blade to chatter across the screen and can also shrink the rubber. Do yourself a favor and at least get the OK (Mid Priced) variety
Be sure that your engine oil level is on the “Full” mark. Run the engine for a minute or two before you check the engine oil level. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct engine oil specification.
Most cars require that the engine is running and gear selector is in the “Park” position before you check the Transmission Oil. If the oil level is low be sure to check with the owner’s handbook before you do a top up. Transmission oils vary and some such as Honda and European vehicles have their own grades of oil and these cannot be mixed. Don’t despair if you can’t find the transmission oil dipstick, some are well hidden and some don’t even have a dipstick; these are only checked at service.