by Venus Zoleta, on category "Car Insurance"
April 15, 2019
Ever heard of BLOWBAGETS? This motoring term stands for battery, lights, oil, water, brake, air, gas, engine, tire, and self.
Sounds a little funny, yes, but it’s a serious reminder about checking your car to prevent an accident or breakdown (We have the PNP-Highway Patrol Group to thank for this handy mnemonic).
Whether you’re heading out on a summer road trip or just driving to work, make it a habit to inspect your car. It’s impossible to check every nook and cranny of your four-wheeled machine when you’re rushing to your destination. But minding your BLOWBAGETS before driving off will keep you and your passengers safe on the road.
Don’t be a kamote driver by always checking your BLOWBAGETS. What does it really mean? Let’s break it down for you.
Your car won’t start with a dead battery. If your battery dies in the middle of driving, you’ll get stuck on the side of the road. You know how dangerous that is. Before you get in your car, make sure your battery has a strong charge, clean terminals, and proper cable-to-terminal connection. Car batteries typically last for three to four years. Replace yours if it’s almost near the end of its service life.
Fully functioning auto lights are a safety must-have for nighttime driving. However, their bulbs burn out or get defective over time. This is why you have to inspect your car’s lights regularly.
Test your headlights, turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights, and tail lights in the garage. The light beam should reflect on the wall. To confirm if the lights are working properly, ask someone to stand in front and then behind the car as you operate the lights.
Check also your lights for dirt, cracks, and breakage. If you spot any, have your lights cleaned or fixed.
Your car needs oil to lubricate all engine components. Too little oil is bad for your engine—it can cause wear and tear on its moving parts. When your vehicle runs out of oil, your engine will stop working, and you’ll be dealing with expensive repair bills.
Check your engine’s oil level and color. When the oil is below the minimum level, it’s time to refill. Look also for leaks, as they’re a sign that your car is quickly losing oil.
Overheating is every motorist’s worst nightmare. A simple check of the water in your radiator will save you from that road disaster.
It also helps to have several one-liter bottles of water in your trunk, just in case your car overheats while you’re driving and you need to put water in the radiator to cool the engine down.
Faulty brakes are a disaster waiting to happen. Lower your chance of meeting a road accident—ensure that your brake system is working properly before you take your car out of the garage. Push the brake pedal all the way to the floor. It shouldn’t feel spongy and have little to no resistance. Otherwise, it isn’t safe to drive when the brakes are weak.
Are your tires properly inflated? Keep the right tire pressure to prevent accidents and decreased fuel economy. Tires, regardless if they’re old or new, lose air over time. This problem isn’t easy to detect with the naked eye—you’ll need to use a tire pressure gauge. Check the tires also for nails and other sharp objects that puncture them.
Especially during long drives, a full gas tank is important. Imagine how troublesome it would be if you run out of fuel while you’re stuck in traffic or driving along the road where a gas station is nowhere in sight.
So don’t forget to check your fuel level through the fuel gauge before you take your car out for a drive.
It’s better to detect an engine problem before you drive off rather than deal with it in the middle of the road. Check for leaks that indicate an engine problem. Also, start the engine and listen to its sound. If you hear pinging, tapping, knocking, or any weird noise, better have a mechanic check your engine.
Driving with worn-out tires can lead to a fatal accident. So before you leave for a road trip, spend a few minutes to check your tires for bulges, bumps, tears, and other signs of damage.
To check your tire tread depth, insert a coin into the tire’s grooves. If you can see much of the coin’s outer band, that means the grooves are already shallow, and you need new tires soon.
Human error is the leading cause of road accidents in Metro Manila. A report from the Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System cites fatigue, sleepiness, drunkenness, and medical problems like asthma and dizziness as examples. Are you physically and emotionally fit to drive today? Check yourself! If you’re sick, dizzy, tired, sleepy, or drunk, you better let somebody else take over the steering wheel.
Driving under extreme emotional stress is also dangerous because you’ll lose concentration on the road. So avoid driving when you’re emotional. Also, check your documents before you hit the road. Your driver’s license, LTO registration papers, and proof of car insurance should be within reach when you get pulled over on your road trip.
Sharing is caring! Share this BLOWBAGETS guide with your loved ones to remind them about car maintenance and safe driving.