May 22 through May 29 is Vehicle Safety Week in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles are urging drivers to perform basic maintenance and safety checks on their vehicles before hitting the roads. If you’re not a car guy (or girl), you may not be sure what to check for. Here’s a quick list of some of the most essential safety checks.
Fluid Levels: Make sure all the systems that require any kind of fluid have been filled to their proper levels. This includes engine oil, brake fluid, coolant/anti-freeze, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. Running low on any of these can be a serious safety hazard (not to mention a risk for mechanical damage). For example, insufficient brake or steering fluid could compromise your control over the vehicle and a lack of transmission fluid could cause your car to stall out, especially on an incline.
Tires: Driving with worn or under-inflated tires can reduce your ability to stop or can even result in a blowout on the road. Check out our guide for knowing when it might be time to change your tires to change your tires!
Brake pads: Every car’s brakes will wear out at different times depending on how you drive and how much local versus highway driving you do, as well as the weight of the car itself. If you hear a screeching or grating sound when you brake, your brake pads are too old. However, you don’t want to wait until then to change them! Check your car’s manual for general guidelines on when to replace brake pads.
Windshield wipers: Good visibility is key to staying safe on the roads, especially in inclement weather. Make sure your wipers are wiping cleanly and that the rotors turn smoothly and in sync.
Lights: Speaking of visibility, your car comes equipped with a lot of different lighting systems to ensure that you can see the road and that other drivers can see you. Make sure your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and reverse lights are all working properly.
In addition to keeping you safe, this guide can also help you avoid a traffic ticket. For example, a ticket for inadequate brakes – either due to low brake fluid or worn brake pads – can cost up to $300 and carries four points on your license. Likewise, a ticket for a broken headlight or taillight can cost up to $150, although no points are assigned to this violation. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for a traffic violation in New York, reach out to a skilled attorney right away for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law have experience fighting all manner of traffic tickets in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 today for a free consultation about your case.