Blue Suit Mom

A Surefure DIY Vehicle Safety Checklist for No-Nonsense Moms

As a mom, you drive around your most precious possessions — your children — on a daily basis. And because you want to ensure your vehicle is as safe as possible, you routinely bring it in for service and needed repairs.

But, in between visits to the mechanic, there are a number of things you can do yourself to make sure everything is running properly. Check out the following DIY car safety inspections:

Check Your Tires Regularly

Even if you routinely have your car’s tires checked by a professional, you should regularly inspect all four tires yourself for tread depth and any sign of dry rot.

Use the “penny test” to check if the tread is at a safe depth; insert a penny into the treads, with Abe Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of his noggin, your tires are at 2/32nds of an inch or less of tread, and should be replaced right away.

While you’re inspecting the treads, also look for any signs of flaking and sharp objects that might be lodged in the tires. It’s a good idea to keep some replacement tires on hand; instead of trudging out to a tire shop, order them from a reputable retailer like Falken tires, which are ideal for many models of SUVs, are one of many brands that the retailer carries and can be delivered to your home or your favorite tire installer.

Make Sure All Lights are Working

In addition to your headlights, routinely check all of your car’s exterior lights and signals to be sure they’re working. If it’s hard to see the lights during the day, do these checks at dusk. Turn on your headlights, and make sure both front and rear lights come on. Ask someone to stand toward the rear of the car before tapping on one of your brakes to see if the brake light is working.

To help remember all of the items that need checking, you can download and/or print out a vehicle safety checklist like the one from VFIS. In addition to checking your lights, the list also gives helpful advice on how to inspect your exhaust system and automatic door windows.

Keep Extra Oil on Hand

Your car’s oil level should be monitored on a regular basis. If you haven’t previously checked your oil, check your car manual to find the location of the oil dipstick. Then, wipe off the metal rod with a clean paper towel before checking the levels. Be sure to do this test when the car’s engine is cold.

If you notice that your vehicle is a quart or more low, you can easily add your own oil. The owner’s manual should be be able to advise you on what type of oil to use. Pick up several quarts at auto parts shops, big box stores or even some grocery stores. Keep it in the garage and add it as needed in between tune-ups.

Check Your Windshield Wipers

If you don’t get a lot of rain in your area, you may assume that the windshield wipers are fine — that is, until you’re in a downpour and discover that one or both are broken or ineffective. Additionally, summer heat can wreak havoc on your wiper blades, so give them a regular once over, and if they are falling off, replace them immediately.

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