Drivers can help to ensure their vehicle is safe to hit the road after lockdown

As we slowly emerge from lockdown, it’s important to remember that problems can occur when a vehicle has been standing idle for a long time. With many non-critical maintenance and repair appointments still subject to delays, we strongly advise drivers to carry out simple safety and maintenance checks on their vehicles before going out on the road again.

Here are some basic safety and maintenance checks that most drivers can easily do themselves. Please remember that most other vehicle maintenance procedures should only be done by a professional (see list at the end of this article)!

I. Engine oil

Checking your engine oil is fairly easy and something everyone should learn how to do. Here’s how:

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface with the engine off
  2. Check your vehicle’s manual for the location of the dipstick
  3. Remove the dipstick and wipe off oil with a clean cloth or paper
  4. Look at the end of the dipstick for the recommended level
  5. Put the dipstick back in and take it out again
  6. Check where the oil level is. It should be around the full mark
  7. If the level is low, then you will need to top it up

Topping up your engine oil when levels are too low is something most drivers can easily do. Here’s how:

  1. Check the owner’s manual for the grade of oil you need and where to find the oil filler cap
  2. Using a funnel, fill the oil to the correct level. Be careful to not overfill
  3. Check the oil level once more, or as often as needed until you reach the right level, with your dipstick
  4. Put the dipstick back

II. Tyres

The ideal tyre pressure for your vehicle can normally be found on a placard. It’s often in the glovebox, the front door opening, on the fuel flap, onboard computer or in the owner’s manual. To check and adjust your tyre pressure you’ll need an air compressor. If you don’t have one at home, most fuel stations have free ones to use. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the valve cap
  2. Press the tyre inflator fitting onto the valve
  3. Check the pressure, adding or releasing air as necessary
  4. Place the valve cap on tightly, ensuring no dirt gets in

Having enough tyre tread is extremely important for your safety. Tyre tread helps your vehicle grip the surface of the road and ensures you can control your vehicle properly, especially when braking. Luckily, checking your tread is easy. All you need is a tyre gauge or a 1 euro coin. Here’s how:

  1. Park on a flat surface
  2. Using a tyre gauge or a 1 euro coin, place it inside the tyre groove. If you can see the bottom gold rim of the coin it means your tread depth is too low and your tyre needs to be replaced.
  3. Check the tread in the remaining wheels and while you’re at it, check your tyres for any visual signs of damage (glass or sharp objects in them).

If you your tyres need to be changed then please contact LeasePlan for a tyre change appointment.

III. Lights

Checking that your lights (headlights & brake lights) work properly is essential for your safety and to ensuring your vehicle is roadworthy. Here’s how:

  1. Front & rear lights: The easiest way to check your lights is if a helper checks them as you switch them on. If you don’t have a helper, then switch them on and walk around the vehicle to check they work.
  2. Brake lights: A helper can also tell you if your brake light turn on when pressing your brakes. If no helper is available, place the car in a position where the lights can reflect on a garage door or wall while pressing the brakes.

If a light needs replacing we don’t recommend you do this yourself. Please contact LeasePlan to make an appointment.

Do not attempt these jobs yourself!

There are some vehicle maintenance jobs that you should never do yourself. Please always contact LeasePlan for the following services:

  • Engine malfunction
  • Changing oil and/or oil filters
  • Any work on steering, gearbox and/or suspension
  • Anything involving fuel and/or electricity
  • Changing disk brakes or pads
  • Air conditioner degassing
  • Cooling system work
  • Repairing high voltage parts, e.g. high tension ignition system
  • Radiator and heater hose checks

In need of a critical vehicle service or repair, or have doubts about the condition of your vehicle? The please reach out to LeasePlan. We will our best to get your appointments scheduled as soon as possible.

Not getting back on the road yet? Read our top tips to keep your vehicle in good condition while it’s idle.


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