Four Seemingly Minor Issues That Can Make Your Car Unsafe To Drive

It's important to diligently maintain your car to ensure that it remains as safe as possible while you're on the road. If left unchecked, even seemingly trivial issues can lead to serious traffic accidents. Keep yourself and your passengers out of harm's way by taking care of these four common issues.

Window Cracks

Obviously, if your windshield is severely cracked to the point that the damage impairs your vision, you need to have it replaced immediately. However, many people think that it's all right to drive around with minor cracks in their windows for months on end. There are a number of reasons why that's a very poor decision though.

Cracks tend to get worse over time due to road vibrations and the stress of air hitting the glass at high speeds. Minor cracks can usually be repaired by a reputable auto glass repair shop. However, if the cracks expand and become too severe, you'll need to have your entire windshield replaced. To avoid wasting money on a replacement windshield, have your window repaired as soon as you notice any cracks.

Window cracks are especially dangerous in the winter — water can seep into the cracks and freeze when the temperature drops. As the water turns into ice, it will expand and make the crack spread. Combine that with the fact that cold temperatures make the glass material more brittle, and suddenly your window is at risk of shattering unexpectedly. That's why it's important to have your cracked windshield repaired or replaced immediately to keep you and your passengers safe.

Tire Damage

Even seemingly minor tire damage should never be left unchecked. Sidewall tire bulges are one of the most common culprits. If the internal structure of your sidewalls becomes damaged, a small bulge will protrude out the side of your tire. It may not look like a big deal, but tire bulges can cause your tire to blow out at any moment, especially if you hit a pot hole at high speeds. Obviously, when you're traveling at high speeds down the highway, that's the last time you want one of your tires to explode. Periodically check both sides of your tires for bulges. If you discover any, replace the tire immediately.

Cracks forming in between tire treads is another common issue, especially if your tires are old and prone to dry rot. When you're checking your tires for damage, shine a flashlight between all the treads and look for hidden cracks. If you find any, replace the tire immediately, before the cracks have a chance to spread and put you at risk of a blowout.

Incorrect Tire Pressure

Even if your tires don't have any leaks, the air pressure in them will naturally fluctuate as the temperature outside rises and falls. The warmer it becomes outside, the less dense the air is. That means your tire pressure will naturally increase when it warms up outside, and it will decrease as the temperature drops.

Periodically check the pressure levels of your tires to ensure they're inflated to factory specifications, especially as the seasons change and temperatures begin to fluctuate. If you're not sure what the proper tire pressure is, check your owner's manual to find the manufacturer's suggested pressure level. Inflate your tires to the proper pressure to ensure that your car handles safely and reliably.

Blown Light Bulbs

If a light bulb goes out in one of your headlamps, you'll notice it as soon as you turn your headlights on. However, blown bulbs in your taillights, brake lights, and turn signals can be impossible to spot from your driver's seat. All of those lights are extremely important to keep you visible at night, so periodically check them out to make sure they're fully functional.

Checking your car's exterior lighting system is easy. Simply turn your headlights on and walk around your car to ensure that all of the bulbs in the headlamps and taillights are illuminated. Repeat the process twice with your turn signal activated in both directions to ensure your front and rear turn signal bulbs are functioning. Finally, prop a book or other heavy object up against your brake pedal to activate your brake lights. Walk around behind your car to make sure all of your brake light bulbs are illuminated.

With a bit of simple preventative maintenance, you can ensure that your car remains as safe as it was when it rolled out of the factory.