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Some of the most critical car checks don’t need specialist engineers or mechanics; you can perform the checks yourself.

As a Northern Ireland motorist, you could save yourself money and time by carrying out some simple FLOWER checks on your car.

Owning a car is expensive; fuel, servicing, MOT, and parts run up high monthly costs.

But by carrying out a basic FLOWER check on your car every week, you can avoid potentially costly breakdowns and save yourself money.

What is a FLOWER check?

Granite Breakdown, a division of CRASH Services specialising in breakdown and recovery explains the FLOWER step check process and why it is important for Northern Ireland drivers.

F – Fuel

You’d be surprised how many people the Granite Breakdown team rescues from the side of the road after running out of fuel.

And while it’s usually not on most people’s list to check, it’s always best before any long journeys to make sure you have enough fuel to get you there and back.

Don’t forget, unexpected traffic jams and diversions all will use extra fuel so always err on the side of caution and top up your petrol or diesel before a long journey.

L – Lights

Your lights help signal your intentions to other motorists (indicators) as well as helping you drive at night (headlights) and through foggy weather (fog lights).

A damaged or broken light can be dangerous, and if the police stop you and find defective lights, you can receive a fine.

Remember to check all of your car lights every week: headlights, fog lights, brake lights, indicators, sidelights, reverse lights, and tail lights.

You’ll need help with this one so enlist a family member or neighbour.

Sit in your car and try each set of lights while your friendly helper stands outside the vehicle and confirms if they’re all working correctly.

O – Oil

A car with low oil levels can wreak havoc on your engine and lead to costly mechanical repair bills; this check could save you a significant amount of money and hassle.

Check your car’s oil levels weekly by taking out the dipstick, cleaning it and putting it back into position. Then remove it to see if oil levels are between ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’ levels.

W – Water

The water in your vehicle helps to keep the engine cool.

Ensuring your car’s engine doesn’t get too hot is vital in keeping your vehicle in excellent working condition.

An overheated engine can cause immense damage and a hefty repair bill.

Remember only to refill the water after your engine has cooled.

E – Electrics

Cars nowadays rely a lot on electrics.

Be vigilant for changes in your battery; if you notice your car struggling or becoming slower to start, it may indicate battery issues that need attention from your mechanic.

Also, keep an eye on your dashboard for any warning lights that might need further investigation.

R- Rubber

The Granite Breakdown recovery team rescue stranded Northern Ireland motorists regularly, and one of the most common reasons is tyre issues.

Issues with your tyres can lead to dangerous blowouts while driving.

But by being proactive, you can mitigate most of the risks by checking your tyre pressure regularly; at least every three weeks and before any long journeys.

Keep an eye on uneven wear on your tyres and check for damage.

Check tyre tread depth too; Northern Ireland law states that there “must be at least the legal minimum 1.6 mm of tread and preferably more than 2 mm.”

And don’t forget the rubber on your windscreen wipers either; faulty wipers can lead to a build-up of grit and dirt and obscure your field of vision.


Before you set off to a destination, make sure you are okay and have everything you need. Are you fit to drive? Do you feel well today? Take into account your eyesight, medication, alcohol and tiredness. If you feel unwell avoid the journey until you are feeling better to avoid any accidents.


You can join our breakdown service Granite Breakdown today for just £60 per year. 

They offer one level of cover across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with a network of trusted recovery operators.


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