Everyone loves a romantic gesture, especially on Valentine’s Day. Dinner, flowers, jewelry, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are all well and good, but how about a unique gift this year? Instead of the usual offerings, give her the gift of safety by inspecting, repairing, and outfitting her car with a variety of safety tools. This effort shows her how much you care, and gives you the peace of mind that she will be safe on the road. Follow our 10 safety tips—and throw in a box of chocolates for good measure!
10 Safety Tips for That Special Someone
Many people aren't aware that small malfunctions on a car can create big safety issues. You may not even know that your turn signal light is out, for example, until you're rear-ended by someone who didn’t know you were slowing down to turn. Regular inspection of all systems can prevent these accidents.
Likewise, being prepared for an emergency with a box of supplies in your car could actually save your life.Along with a heartfelt card, offer your Valentine the following safety checks on her car:
- Inspect and replace lights. Make sure all the lights work and that the light lenses are clean. Check headlights,taillights, directional signals, and interior lights. Replace the bulbs of any burned out lights.
- Windshield and wipers. Clean the outside of the windshield with a squeegee and check the condition of the wiper blades. If they're stiff or cracked, replace them with high-quality blades. Take special care in cleaning the inside of the windshield. There can be a waxy film on the glass that only comes off with glass cleaner. Don’t leave streaks, as these can interfere with visibility, especially at night.
- Examine tires. Check the air pressure to make sure tires are at the recommended levels. If not, fill them at a service station. Also check the condition of the tread and replace the tires if the tread is worn. Have the tires rotated if this hasn’t been done in the last year. Remember to check the spare tire as well.
- Change the oil. Read your car’s owner’s guide to determine how often the oil should be changed. Generally, carmakers recommend changing the oil every 10,000 miles. If the oil hasn't been changed in the last year, make an appointment to have it done.
- Inspect belts and hoses. Look for holes or tears in any belts or hoses and have them replaced if they're worn. The car depends on these being in good condition to operate smoothly and efficiently.
- Check brakes. No feature is more important to safety than the vehicle’s brakes. If they feel soft and it’s hard to stop quickly, take the car into a brake shop for an inspection. You may need to replace the brake pads or completely new brakes.
- Put together a car safety kit. Especially important in winter, make sure the car is equipped with an emergency roadside kit and a box of important items such a blanket, cell phone charger, protein bars, bottled water, and cat litter. If you're ever stranded in bad weather, these items could save your life.
- Install safety apps on her phone. While everyone should know better than to text and drive, the temptation to check your phone for messages can sometimes be overwhelming. Finding and installing an anti-texting app on your loved one’s phone could save a life.
- Check for outstanding recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regularly updates notices of recalls and technical service bulletins. By entering the car’s vehicle identification number at the Administration's website, you can check for active recalls on the car. Also, if the car was a preowned purchase, there may be recalls you weren't aware of, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
- Pay for a tune-up. Many of these tasks could be taken care of with a comprehensive tune-up at a reputable repair shop. Surprise your loved one with a thorough cleaning and tune up—and then a night out on the town!
While this may not seem like the most romantic gift, nothing says "I love you" like showing you care. Browse our website for more safety tips!