How to Perform a Safety Inspection

Preventative maintenance inspections are beneficial to a safe journey. Keep a first aid kit, blanket, bottled water, food snacks, basic tool kit and road flares handy during long trips or when the vehicle becomes disabled. In snow, sand or kitty litter can help the vehicle gain traction by applying these substances at the drive wheels, a small shovel can be also used to dig deep snow away from the vehicle’s tires.

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A vehicle relies on several fluids to maintain proper operation such as engine oil and coolant, when these fluids run low they can causes minor or major problems.
oil level dip stick

If engine service is overdue (dark oil on stick), perform an oil change including the filter, check the engine oil level and add until between the "ADD" and "FULL" indicators of the dip stick.
add oil

Wiper blades are needed to clean the windshield free from water and debris, inspect wipers for cracks or degradation, they should also sit firmly on the windshield to help eliminate streaks. Wiper blades are a normal maintenance item and should be replaced regularly. Please visit wiper blade replacement guide for further information.
wiper blade

Washer fluid or solvent is used to help clear the windshield of dirt and debris with the assistance of the wipers, inspect the level of the washer solvent and add if needed.
washer fluid

Coolant is used to transfer engine heat to the radiator and to help avoid expansion inside the engine block in freezing temperatures which will cause serious engine damage. If the coolant is weak, corrosion causing acids can form which can cause water pump and gasket failures. Service the cooling system at regular intervals to avoid the negative effects of neglect.
adding coolant

Good tire condition is essential for driving in wet and icy roads, check tire condition by inspecting side wall condition and air pressure readings.
tire safety

Also, inspect tire tread wear patterns which can indicate additional problems such as shock or strut wear. Tires should have at least 5/32” of tread, snow tires should be installed when needed, check the spare tire as well and carry chains in snowy conditions.
tire tread

Typically in winter months an automotive battery is prone to failure due to the drop in temperature. To avoid battery problems perform a load test which will detect failure, replace the battery if weak, also inspect and clean the battery terminals if corroded. A battery's life is limited, and should be replaced regardless of performance every five years.
installing new car battery

Inspect headlight operation including lens clarity, replace bulbs which have failed with new, clean or replace lens as needed.

Brake lights are used to warn drivers of an anticipated vehicle stop, beyond normal lighting systems the brake lights represent a safety issue.
brake lights

Turn indicators help warn of an intended lane change, check their operation by turning the ignition key to the "ON" position, work the lever in each direction while observing bulb operation and replace bulbs as needed.
healight inspection

The serpentine drive belt is needed for the engine to operate correctly, using a flashlight inspect the belt for cracks and glazing. Replaced the belt when signs of wear are present, please visit serpentine belt replacement for further information.
belt comparison

An automatic transmission relies on fluid to operate correctly, inspect the fluid while the engine is running to determine level and condition of the fluid, service the transmission if needed.
remove transmission dip stick

Power steering fluid is used to assist the steering pump, check fluid levels to ensure proper operation, if the fluid smells burnt or is discolored service the system by performing a power steering fluid flush.
inspect power steering fluid level

Brake fluid is used to actuate the brake system, inspect the brake fluid level in the reservoir. Typically this fluid does not evaporate so if the system is low, the front brake pads may need replacement or there is a leak somewhere in the system, if the fluid is dirty perform a bleed and flush.
add brake fluid

Checking cooling system hoses help prevent unexpected hose ruptures, squeeze each hose to check for cracking, weak spots or bulging, these are signs the hoses need to be replaced. Coolant hoses are a normal service item and should be replaced when signs of wear are present. Please visit radiator hose replacement guide for more information.
checking upper hose

An airbag safety system is used to help keep passengers safe in the event of an accident, if the airbag warning light is on while driving the system is non-operational. Please visit air bag guide for further information.
airbag warning light

Identify warning lights such as a check engine soon light illuminated in the instrument cluster while driving, these lights indicate a problem that needs attention, identifying a problem early can mean the difference from a simple repair, or a costly one.
warning lights

It's the driver's responsibility that everyone in the vehicle is fastened securely, make sure all safety belts are working properly and stay fastened after being buckled.
seat belt


Our certified technicians are ready to answer car safety inspection questions for free. We hope you saved money and learned from this guide. We are creating a full set of car repair guides. Please subscribe to our 2CarPros YouTube channel and check back often for new videos which are uploaded regularly.

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