Basic car checks

Let me ask you before you go on a journey in your car do you check that everything is working as it should and that it’s safe to drive?

Most people will do one of the checks below, but you should do them all every week or so. The 10 minutes it will take for you to do them will help to prevent your car from breaking down (and few things piss us off more, right) and they just might save you from a huge repair bill.

The basic car checks you need to do

Here are the basic car checks you should do every week or so.


This is the one that pretty much all of us do. If you don’t do this one before setting out on your journey and you run out before you get there – well, it’s a bit embarrassing.

Check you have enough fuel, to complete your journey or that these enough to get you to a filling station. Don’t wait until the “low fuel” warning light comes on, that’s just asking for trouble.

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You should check ALL of your lights. Are they all working? Checking your headlights is simple enough – switch them on and walk around your car to make sure they’re working. And don’t forget your HighBeam either. And make sure you check your fog lights too.

For your direction indicator lights switch your hazard lights on and again have a walk around. Doing it this way means you don’t have to check the left and right sides individually.

If you have someone with you they can walk around the back when you check your footbrake, to make sure ALL your brake lights are working (it’s a legal requirement to have them all working). And whilst they’re there then check your reversing lights are working a well. If you don’t have anyone with you look for a reflection of the lights in a garage door or a window, or anything that gives you a view of the lights working or not when you operate them.

Also, check all the lenses for cracks and make sure they’re clean. If you find any issues with your lights or lenses get them fixed before you set off.

basic car checks - oil


This is an important one! But not many people do it as often as it should be done. Check your oil at least once every couple of weeks. Cars can use nearly a liter of oil for every 1000 miles driven. And I don’t need to tell you how much it would cost to replace a seized engine. Your handbook will tell you how to check your oil levels. Just make sure you do it regularly.


In the summer overheating is one of the most common reasons for cars breaking down. But it’s so easy to stop that from happening, simply by you checking your car’s coolant levels. Again your handbook will tell you how to do it. If it looks low, have a check around for leaks and get it fixed if there is one. And don’t forget to check your windscreen washer fluid at the same time.


Most batteries are sealed units these days and you’d need to replace the whole thing. Like the overheating a bad battery is one of the most common reasons for a breakdown. Here are a few things to look out for that’ll tell you you need a new battery

  • The engine starts slowly
  • Your lights are dim
  • The engine light is on
  • A bad smell in the cockpit
  • The connectors look corroded
  • It looks like it’s shape has warped
  • Or it’s just plain old.

If you spot any of the above get your battery checked. Also, don’t forget to check your horn is working as well.

tires is one of the basic car checks


This is a big one!

Of all the basic car checks you should do this is a big one. Check your tires at least once per week. Remember these bad boys are the only things keeping you on the road so make sure they’re in good nick at all times.

Make sure they are inflated correctly. If they’re not it’s not safe to drive anywhere! Also check the walls of the tires for splits and gouges, both the outside and the inside if your tires (turn your steering wheel to full lock so you can see the inside of the tyre). And don’t forget to check your tire’s tread depth. For safety you should replace your tires if anything seems wrong.

If you’re going on holiday and your car is loaded with luggage and people you need to increase your tire pressures to compensate – Info will be in your handbook about this.

There you go those are the basic car checks you should do every week or so. There’s a simple way to remember what you need to check – Just think FLOWER:

  • Fuel
  • Lights
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Electrics
  • Rubber

FLOWER is one of those acronyms that after you’ve said it a few times is hard to forget. The important thing here is to keep yourself and your passengers safe so check your car before you get going and these basic car checks will help you do that. Then it’s down to your driving skills and here are a few advanced few tips to help you get the most out of your car.

And here are some others for you from Wikihow if you’d like to know more