When car accidents are preventable, unfortunately we can’t always call them accidental. Keeping your car in tiptop shape is your responsibility, so that no harm befalls any drivers or passengers. Here are five issues to deal with NOW, before problems arise.
Believe it or not, these are actually only a small percentage of overall accidents. As much as 75% of accidents happen because the driver was negligent. So in the 15-20% or so of accidents that can happen due to technical problems, tune up to prevent them. Fortunately in Israel, it’s a mandatory requirement to have your car tested every year to ensure it’s in good working condition. Still, be on top of these issues throughout the year so you’ll be aware if anything comes up, and you can deal with them immediately.
The tread on the tire provides traction that allows for smooth maneuvering, and when the tread becomes worn down, it’s harder to keep control of the car. Although tires can last a long time, when they’re finished, they need to be retired and replaced. Another factor to check is that the tires are inflated well. If they’re not, it could also lead to less traction, less control and greater probability of accidents. These issues become even more of a problem when it’s wet and slippery on the road and driving conditions become severely compromised. In climates where this is likely, where it’s wet and slippery most of the year or very bad in the winter, it’s even more important to check how your tires are behaving. A tire can last from 25,000 to 50,000 miles in general, so if you feel the tread thinning on yours, and you know you’ve had them that long, it’s a good time to check them out. Many experts recommend changing them every six years.
Of course, one of the obvious mechanical failures that cause accidents is bad brakes. If you can’t bring your vehicle to a full stop, there’s a likely chance of a major collision, whether with a person or with another vehicle. You can often feel that there’s something amiss with your brakes, and this can be due to worn-out brake pads or malfunctioning ABS systems. If you notice that your brake pads don’t feel as smooth as they’re supposed to, change them immediately – you won’t necessarily be able to determine exactly when it becomes too dangerous until it’s too late, and they could give out when you least expect it. There may also be a scratching sound when you press down on bad brakes, or the car may veer slightly to one side – all signals that you should head over to the shop on the way home, today.
Impaired lights are probably the easiest to diagnose. If your lights are broken, don’t wait to change them. While clearly dangerous for nighttime driving, they can be problematic even for daytime driving, because you won’t be able to signal, depending on what’s broken. Since it’s an easy diagnosis, it’s also easy to fix – you don’t need a mechanic to fiddle around and figure out what’s causing problems.
You can pinpoint steering issues if the car is veering off to one side while you’re steering straight. This is most likely to happen while accelerating or braking, and it can point to a problem with the steering wheel, the brakes or the pedals. Other steering complaints are that the wheel locks or vibrates unnecessarily. These concerns may not be as obvious as the others on here, but they can be just as dangerous.
If anything inhibits your vision while you’re driving, your chance of accident greatly increases. Wipers may seem like an unimportant element of good driving, but they can be risky; if disturbances land on your windshield, they could inhibit your ability to drive well. Especially in rainy weather, faulty wipers are dangerous. Even in fair climates you need to be able to remove dirt buildup and other objects that can land on your windshield, obstructing your view. Not only are broken wipers dangerous, but wipers that miss areas or don’t function properly should be fixed pronto as well.
Fixing a car is no one’s idea of fun, but it’s really important to keep your car functioning properly on all fronts for the simple and important reason that you want to keep you and your family safe.
Alef Alef Car Garage is located in the Industrial Zone Nesher Har-Tuv (Behind the Police Station)