It’s important that your vehicle remains safe to drive at all times and there are basic vehicle checks you can do yourself that don’t take long.
We recommend you check the following at least every month and before you go on any long journey:
Check the tread depth. Minimum legal depth is 1.5mm, but the more tread you have the better the grip and the safer you and your vehicle will be on the road.
Check the tyre pressure – correct levels can usually be found on the inside door frame.
Look for cracks or bubbles in the sides.
Look for sharp objects stuck in the tyres.
More information about tyres Windscreen, wipers and mirrors
Check your wiper blades for wear and tear.
Clean your mirrors and windscreen inside and out.
Get your windscreen fixed if it’s chipped or cracked.
Check your windscreen washer fluid is full and the spray is working.
Keep an eye out for rust, especially in the key structural areas of your vehicle such as the pillars that front doors are hinged to.
Check lenses are clean and not cracked or hazy.
Check your headlights, reversing lights and brake lights are working. Check your back lights by reversing close to a wall so you can see the reflection in your rear view mirror.
More information about lights Get a professional check-up
Nothing beats a professional check-up. If you have any safety concerns, take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic or testing station. Don’t wait for the Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness to expire.
The professionals take a deeper look at the safety systems of your vehicle, including:
Brakes – to ensure they work correctly
Structure – to check for wear and tear
Steering and suspension – to check for cracks and other safety issues
Safety belts – to ensure the buckle works and check for wear and tear. More information about vehicle inspections Driving checks VIDEO Things you can check when driving
These things can be serious, so make sure you take your car to an expert if you notice them or anything else unusual.
You could have a problem with your brakes if:
the brake pedal feels spongy
there’s a squealing noise when braking
the steering pulls to one side when you brake
there are vibrations or pulsing through the brake pedal when braking.
More information about brakes Exhaust
If it’s smoky or sounding unusual, it could be a sign that there’s a problem.
Suspension and steering
You could have a problem with shock absorbers, which directly affects steering if:
the steering wheel shakes a lot after you hit a bump or pothole
your car seems unstable on rough or unsealed roads
your car continues to rock after coming to a standstill.
Listen for unusual noises, they usually indicate something is wrong.
Choosing a safe vehicle
Your vehicle plays a major role in keeping you safe on the road.
Safety ratings are the best indication of how your vehicle is likely to perform in a crash.
Safety ratings range from 1 to 5-stars and the safest vehicles have 5-star safety ratings.
There are vehicles with high safety ratings available in most vehicle categories and price brackets.
If you’re looking to buy a vehicle, we encourage you to buy the safest vehicle in your price range.
Check out our Rightcar website to find the safest vehicle for you (external link) Safety feature tips (external link) More information Check your car flyer [PDF, 1.1 MB] Check your car resources
Other safety features