Preventative Maintenance

Car RepairWould you do a column on the importance of vehicle maintenance? Not only regarding upkeep of tires, fluids, brakes, or suspension, but also the importance of regularly checking to ensure all the lights on the vehicle are clean and in good working order. I believe that the factory installed LED-style 3rd brake lights should be mandatory on all vehicles because its all too often that these are the only brake lights left still working on the vehicle! Its easy to put gas in a vehicle, turn a key, put it in drive, and pretend to know how to operate a heavy missile in close quarters with many others on the road who are doing the same.

My father was a service station owner and I can remember him telling me that the best thing that ever happened to the car repair business was the self serve service station. Drivers fill the fuel tank and turn the key. If it starts and moves away, all is well.

No attendant to look at tires, lights, check the oil or the level of the washer fluid often meant that these tasks were never done on any regular basis by most drivers.

How often do you see a vehicle pass by you with half a repair visible? I mean things like red vapour barrier tape over taillight lenses, a tailgate held shut by wire or a licence plate dangling by one bolt.

Granted, some are emergency repairs for a very short period of time but I often see the same vehicle pass me in the same condition day after day now that I am retired and commuting to school.

It is fortunate that collisions caused primarily by vehicle defects are rare. I do wonder how often a human error is put past the point of recovery by a defect though. This is probably the reason why the rules tell drivers that when their vehicles are no longer properly equipped, the regulations with regard to equipment are only suspended for the length of time necessary to remove the vehicle from the highway forthwith.

Since you do mention clean and functional lights, it's past the time of year to remind everyone to check their lights and make sure that they turn them on when necessary. I'm starting to see vehicles being used after dark with no taillights because the driver has forgotten their daytime running lights only turn on the headlights!

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