Skip to content

Access keys for nzta.govt.nz

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top

Check your car – safety basics

It doesn't take long to give your car a quick safety check. Just give it a regular TWIRL and take it to an expert if anything's wrong.

Tyres

  • Check the tread depth. Minimum legal depth is 1.5mm, but the more tread you have the better the grip and the safer you’ll be.

  • Check the tyre pressure – correct levels can usually be found on the inside door frame.

  • Look for cracks or bubbles in the sides.

  • Look for sharp objects stuck in the tyres.

More information about tyres

Windscreen, wipers and mirrors

  • Check your wiper blades for wear and tear.

  • Clean your mirrors and windscreen inside and out.

  • Get your windscreen fixed if it’s chipped or cracked.

  • Check your windscreen washer fluid is full and the spray is working.

Indicators

  • Turn your hazard lights on and walk around the car – check all indicators are flashing.

Rust

  • Look for obvious areas of corrosion that can weaken the car’s structure.

Lights

  • Check lenses are clean and not cracked or hazy.

  • Check your headlights, reversing lights and brake lights are working. Check your back lights by reversing close to a wall so you can see the reflection in your rear view mirror.

More information about lights

Driving checks

Things you can check when driving

These things can be serious, so make sure you take your car to an expert if you notice them or anything else unusual.

Brakes

You could have a problem with your brakes if:

    • the brake pedal feels spongy

    • there’s a squealing noise when braking

    • the steering pulls to one side when you brake

    • there are vibrations or pulsing through the brake pedal when braking.

More information about brakes

Exhaust

If it’s smoky or sounding unusual, it could be a sign that there’s a problem.

Suspension and steering

You could have a problem with shock absorbers, which directly affect steering if:

  • the steering wheel shakes a lot after you hit a bump or pothole

  • your car seems unstable on rough or unsealed roads

  • your car continues to rock after coming to a standstill.

Noises

Listen for unusual noises, they usually indicate something is wrong.

Download our check your car leaflet [PDF, 757 KB]

Other safety features

Top