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All Those Things You Should Have Checked at the Fuel Station

Published on: 06 January 2015

You consider yourself a responsible car owner, right? You have vehicle insurance, you adhere to the rules of the road, you service your car regularly and you keep an eye on those warning lights. If something starts flashing, you have it sorted out.

It’s not necessary to have the oil, water, tyres and what-have-you checked every time you go to the petrol station, right?

Wrong.

The problem is that by the time your warning lights start to flash, you’ve already started causing damage to your engine, and if a tyre bursts at a high speed both you and your car could end up being a write-off.

These then are all those things you should have checked every time you fill up your car:

  • Transmission fluid.
    Needless to say, when you run out of transmission fluid you damage your gears. Ask the petrol attendant to check this fluid reading first, because you’ll get a more accurate reading while the engine is still warm.
  • Brake fluid.
    No brake fluid, no brakes. If your petrol attendant informs you that you are running low on brake fluid you have a serious problem, because cars should not consume brake fluid. It means that there is either a leak in the brake line or the brake surfaces are worn. Hand your car in to be fixed immediately.
  • Power steering fluid.
    Without this fluid you’ll have a lot harder time steering your vehicle, so have it checked.
  • Windshield washer fluid.
    How will you clean your windshield while driving without windshield washer fluid? An obstructed, smeared view can cause an accident.
  • Tyres.
    Have your tyre pressure checked every time you pull into a garage. It’ll ensure that your wheels stay aligned. Also check the tread of your tyres and if the tread looks worn, drive to the nearest tyre shop and have them replaced. You don’t want a tyre to burst on the highway, do you?
  • Coolant.
    Your coolant removes excess heat from your engine preventing it from overheating. This fluid should be checked only after the engine has cooled down to avoid a spray of scalding water.  
  • Oil.
    This fluid lubricates your engine, so if you’re running low on oil, your engine parts will wear down faster and if you run out of oil your engine will seize up. Ask your petrol attendant to check the oil last so that the car has a chance to cool down and the oil in the return galleries, cylinder head valleys, etc. is drained down. This will ensure that you get a more accurate reading.

Having all of this checked every time you visit a petrol station means that you are doing everything in your power to ensure that your vehicle is in perfect working order. Along with having vehicle insurance, adhering to the rules of the road and servicing your car regularly, this is what needs to be seen-to if you want to consider yourself a responsible car owner.

Need some help to make sense of car insurance jargon? Or are you looking for helpful tips that’ll ensure you’re prepared for anything you might encounter on the road? For all this and more have a look at our eBook A Dummy’s Guide to Owning a Car.