Tires are one of the most critical safety items to check on your car. They should be inflated to the correct pressure recommended in your owner's manual and be checked for wear and damage. Excessive wear or any damage should always be addressed immediately. The spare tire should be checked for proper inflation and be sure to have the correct jack handy and know how to use it.
Turn on the lights, walk around your car, and see if they are all working and are equally bright, clean and have no water inside the lens. Get assistance to check the brake and back up lights and don’t forget the turn signals and emergency flashers. Also, be sure to keep spare bulbs and fuses in the car at all times.
Inspect the wiper blades to check for cracks or brittleness. If the wiper blades chatter or leave the windshield smeared, replace the blades.
Check the washer operation and the fluid level. A uniform even spray that covers the entire windshield should be present.
Start the engine and listen for any unusual sounds, particularly those that come from under the car. A leaking exhaust system can let poisonous carbon monoxide gas inside the car.
When coming to a stop, notice how the pedal feels and listen for any noises that don’t sound normal. Try this with the windows open and of course check the brake fluid level.
Suspension and Steering
Drive the car and listen for any rattles or a feeling of looseness in the steering. These could be signs of trouble.
Check the instrument panel for an air bag warning light when the engine is running. The light should come on momentarily when the car is started and go out after a few seconds to verify that the system is operational. Always replace a bag that has been deployed.
Check the horn to make sure it works; you never know when you might need it.
Safety items to keep in you trunk include a flashlight, flares, reflective triangles and jumper cables.