Safety Checks to do Before you Drive a New Vehicle
Whether you are purchasing a new car for yourself or you are hiring a car, there are car safety precautions that you should always check before you decide to get in the vehicle and drive away. These car safety checks only take minutes to complete, however, are commonly overlooked and could potentially put you and others at risk.
Tread Pattern Depth
If a hire car has sat for a while, then the main focus tends to be whether the engine is in good running order. But many forget to check if the tyres are in suitable condition to be taken up to high speed. Seeing that the only thing that connects the hire car to the ground is the tyre, you need to ensure that everything is correct. This includes things such as tread pattern depth is at least a depth of 1.6mm, however, we would recommend that the tread pattern is at least 2mm just for safety’s sake.
Tyre pressure is such an important part of maintaining any vehicle. The air pressure within the tyre does more than “keep the car off the ground”. It affects not only the driving experience of the hire car but also the MPG (Miles Per Gallon), handling and how safe the passengers are.
Essentially a tyre is almost a “heavy-duty balloon”. To reach optimum performance out of each tyre we need to ensure that the air pressure inside is at the correct PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). If the tyre isn’t inflated enough then the tyre (like a balloon) will perform poorly which can be dangerous. But if the tyre is over-inflated then the tyre will have less contact surface which means you will have less control of the vehicle at high speeds.
Sometimes the seal of the rim or the tyre can leak, this will then let out air from the wheel. If you notice that one wheel tends to deflate quicker than the other wheels, this could mean that the seal has been broken and therefore the tyre will require refitting.
A fairly obvious one to check but you would be surprised to see how many people overlook this. Anything from nails, glass and even small stones can puncture the tyres of the vehicle. This will lead to the tyre losing air pressure and therefore require replacing the entire tyre.
*Note: There are products out there that are useful for “getting you home” such as Holts Tyreweld which are designed to get you out of a tough situation. However, these are purely non-permanent fixes. If you notice your tyres losing pressure or if they have a puncture, then it is best that you get your tyre replaced.
Before you drive away in your new rental car, you need to make sure that your seating position is secure (seat locked in place along runners), majority of functions like mirrors and heating within reaching distance and that you can easily push each pedal firmly to the floor. (*Note: you should be able to push the pedals to the floor whilst maintaining a slight bend in your knee. If your leg is straight, then you need to move forward a bit more.)
Another tip is to ensure that the headrests are adjusted to provide your neck and head ample support and protection in the case of a crash.
This may come off as basic, but it is essential to make sure that your seatbelt is in full working order. In the unfortunate occasion of a car crash, your seatbelt is the only thing that will keep you securely within the vehicle.
The seatbelt must be able to fit across your stomach and chest comfortably and mount securely to the mounting bracket near the centre of the rental car. Check to make sure the seatbelt will lock in place when pulled harshly. This will re-enact the acceleration that your body will experience in a crash. You should feel the seatbelt suddenly stop the momentum which means that the seatbelt is working as intended.
All our car hire vehicles are checked before they leave the showroom, we regularly check tyre pressures, tyre condition and that everything is working as it should – if you have any concerns whilst in one of our vehicles please give us a call. We hope that all the information in this blog is useful for you. If you would like to contact us regarding any information about our rental cars then please call us on 01865 715 500.