May 26, 2020

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

Checking your engine oil level

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

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface with the engine off and cold.
  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 ends for the recommended levels.
  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 it’s around the full mark you don’t need to do anything but if the level is low, you need to top it up.

Topping up your engine oil

If your engine oil is too low, you’ll need to top it up. This is something you can easily do yourself.

  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.

Checking your tyre pressure

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

  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.

Checking your tyre tread

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 one euro coin

  1. Park on a flat surface.
  2. Using a tyre gauge or a one euro coin, place it in 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 your tyres are worn out and need to be changed contact LeasePlan for a tyre change appointment.

Checking your lights

Having working lights (headlights & brake lights) are essential for your safety and to ensure your vehicle remains roadworthy.

  • Front & rear lights: The easiest way to check your lights is with a helper or if you don’t have a helper, switch on the lights and walk around to check the lights.
  • Brake lights: Check the brake lights with a helper or place the car in a position where the lights can reflect on a garage door or wall while testing the brakes.
    Need to have a light globe replaced? We don’t recommend you replace your light globes yourself as there is some work required to do it properly. To replace your light globes contact LeasePlan (2106100050) for an appointment.

What not to attempt 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

With these tips you’re able to do some vehicle checks and maintenance yourself but bear in mind these are only the basics! You should always take your vehicle for a full service with a professional. Get in contact with LeasePlan (2106100050) to arrange your service appointment.

Have a critical vehicle service or repair? Or in case you have any doubts about the condition of your vehicle, you can reach out to LeasePlan (2106100050).

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