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Automotive & Home Inspection and Safety Guide

Automotive & Home Inspection and Safety Guide
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The National Safety Campaign

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Automotive & Home

Inspection and Safety Guide

The following automotive and home checklist information was compiled by the National Safety Campaign, in cooperation with the expert home and automotive repair facilities, 1-800-REPAIRS, the Consumer Information Center, the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

This checklist will assist you in locating potentially dangerous areas on your automobile and around your home. The correct answer is in bold print. If your answer does not match the correct answer, it may indicate a need for immediate service or attention from a qualified and appropriate repair service provider in your area.

IMPORTANT: Before allowing a company to perform any work on your automotive or home, ask for the following from the company:

  1. A written proposal or description of work to be performed, with the total proposed costs.
  2. A written guarantee for any work performed.
  3. Proof of the company's general liability insurance.
  4. Proof of a current occupational or trade license (as required in your area).
  5. Assurance that all home modifications meet local building and fire codes.



1. Are you a member of a "Motor Club" or have an emergency road side provider?
"A motor club plan may be useful in locating a 'qualified' emergency road service provider quickly in case of a breakdown."
2. Have you experienced a "breakdown" within the past 12 months?
"Recent breakdowns may indicate a need for necessary mechanical services."
Yes NO
3. Do you have the following in your vehicle:
A. First aid kit YES No

"These items should always be kept in your vehicle. In case of a breakdown always position your vehicle as far as possible from the flow of traffic. Periodically check your spare tire air pressure and keep fresh batteries in the flashlight."

B. Tool kit YES No
C. Spare Tire YES No
D. Flash Light YES No
E. Blanket and dry towel YES No
F. Jumper Cables YES No
G. Spare gallon of water YES No
H. Umbrella and rain suit YES No
I. Fire extinguisher YES No
J. Flares and a plastic triangular-shaped emergency reflector YES No


1. Do you detect any cuts, holes or defects in the sides or any part of the rubber? Yes NO
2. Is there any "cracking" or splits on the sides of between the treads or at the valve stem? Yes NO
3. Is there any sign of uneven wear or "balding" on the treads? Yes NO
4. Is there correct air pressure in all tires?
"The correct pressure is usually indicated on the placard inside the glove compartment or actually by the vehicle manufacturer specifications. Low air pressure can also decrease gas mileage."
"Your tires should be checked regularly. Tires in poor condition can cause "blow outs" and possible dangerous crashes."
5. Do you have a special key to unlock the hubcaps?
"Many newer model automobiles have hubcaps that require a special tool to remove the hubcap. If your vehicle has this, keep the tool with your tire changing equipment at all times."
6. Are the hubcaps on securely? YES No
7. Do you detect any shaking or "wobbling" while driving? Yes NO
8. While driving, does your steering pull in any direction?
"The above two items may be a result of improper alignment or poor tire balance."
Yes NO


1. Does your automobile have an anti-lock brake system and do you understand how it operates?
"Most never car models offer ABS as either standard or optional equipment. Read your owners manual to find out whether your car has an anti-lock brake system." (NHTSA)
"With anti-lock brakes, your brake pedal may pulsate when you attempt a sudden, abrupt stop. This condition is normal." (ASE) "If you normally pump the brakes, you shouldn't do so with ABS. Just hold foot firmly on the brake pedal and ignore the unusual sounds coming from the brake system or pedal pulsing you may experience. And remember you can still steer!" (NHTSA)
2. Do you detect any "squeaking, squealing or grinding" sounds with regular brakes?
"Squeaking" usually indicates a need for brake service. Grinding sounds may be caused by completely worn brake pads and should be inspected.
Yes NO
3. Does your brake pedal feel "spongy" or loose when applying? Yes NO
4. Do your brake lights work property? YES No
5. Is your brake fluid to the full mark on the container?
"Low brake fluid may cause your brakes to operate improperly. Check brake fluid and lights monthly."


1. Do you detect any burning smells or smoke (from around the engine)?
"Smoke or burning smells may be caused by oil leaks near hot surfaces. If this is occurring, the vehicle should be checked or serviced immediately.
Yes NO
2. Have you checked your motor oil recently?" YES No
3. Have you checked your automatic transmission level recently? YES No
4. Have you checked your radiator coolant (anti-freeze) recently? YES No
5. Do you have a separate radiator cooling tank (usually plastic) and if so, are fluids at the appropriate level?
"Anti-freeze coolant is recommended because it helps prevent freezing and overheating."
6. Is your wiper washer container full of windshield washer solvent? YES No
7. Do you detect any oil, fluid or water leaks on the ground, after vehicle is parked? YES No
8. Have you had an oil, oil filter and air filter change recently?
"Regular oil filter changes are important and may help your vehicle avoid mechanical failures. Follow manufacturers recommended service intervals."


1. Have you checked the automatic transmission fluid? YES No
2. If you have an automatic transmission, does it shift smoothly? YES No
3. Do you detect excessive engine surges between gear shifting? Yes NO
4. Does the engine idle smoothly, while in "park"? YES No
5. Does the engine "ping" or run on after the engine is turned off? Yes NO
6. Has you automobile had a tune-up recently?
"Improper tuning or low grade gasoline may cause poor engine performance."
7. Do you detect any cracks or defects in any of the belts (fan belts, etc.)?
"Good condition fan and other engine belts are important for engine cooling, battery charging and other critical operational parts."
Yes NO
8. Does the air conditioning and heating system work properly? YES No
9. Do you have spare electrical fuse?
"Always keep a complete supply of the proper size fuses in your vehicle."
10 Do your emergency flashers work properly? YES No
"Properly working emergency flashers may help to prevent crashes in case of a breakdown."
11. Do your turn signal lights (blinkers) work properly? YES No
12. Do your headlights work properly? (High beam and Low beam) YES No
13. Do your wiper blades clean all sections of windshield properly? YES No
14. Does your radio work properly?
"In case of severe weather or traffic hazards, radio announcements can be of assistance."


1. Do you have any cracks in the windshield or any other glass? Yes NO
2. Do all windows, doors, hood and trunk operate and lock properly? YES No
3. Are there any holes or corroded or rusty areas in the body of vehicle?
"Check for holes underneath wherever exhaust gases can enter the passenger compartment. Corroded and rusty areas can also cause water leaks and wear on important moving parts."
Yes NO
4. Are there any loose items on the body? Yes NO
"An average of 115 persons died each day in motor vehicle crashes in 1996, one every 13 minutes, and an injury every 9 seconds and one crash every 5 seconds. (NHTSA)"



1. Does your equipment make any loud or grinding sound while operating? Yes NO
2. Does your equipment cool adequately? YES No
3. Does your equipment heat adequately? YES No
4. Have you ever detected natural gas odors from your heating equipment?
"Gas leaks are extremely dangerous and may lead to an explosion or fire. If you detect gas smells, contact a plumber or your gas company immediately."
Yes NO
5. Are there any rusted or corroded areas on any pipes leading to or from your heating equipment? (If yes, are there any corrosion/rust areas by the fittings?) Yes NO
6. Do you detect any strange odor or burning smell from your system while it is operating?
"Burning smells may be caused by electrical malfunctions."
Yes NO
7. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? YES No
8. Have you had your air conditioning/heating equipment serviced recently? YES No
9. Have you replaced your air conditioning filter recently?
"A clean filter is important for making your equipment operate properly and safely."
10. Does your thermostat work properly? YES No
11. Do you see any exposed electrical wires leading to exterior equipment? Yes NO
12. Have you ever noticed water spots on any ceiling or wall? Yes NO
13. Have you ever noticed algae (green slime) coming from an exterior drain? Yes NO
14. Is there any trash, debris or plants growing around your exterior air conditioning equipment (compressor)? Yes NO
15. Are space heaters in good working condition and placed away from combustible materials such as curtains and furniture? YES No


"There are over 200 electrocution deaths each year in the U.S. caused by touching defective electrical products or live wires." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

1. Do you have extension cords operating any appliances inside your home? Yes NO
2. Do you have a working smoke detector or detectors?
"Smoke detectors should be placed on each floor and outside each sleeping area."
3. Have you checked the power supply or batteries in your smoke detector?
"There are about 450,000 residential structure fires and about 3,500 residential structural fire deaths annually. About 30 percent of the deaths are to children under the age of 15." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)."
4. If your bathroom has an electrical receptacle near the sink (within 3 feet), is it a "ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)" outlet?
"Ground fault outlets usually have a small reset button on the face of the outlet."
5. Do you have exterior flood lights?
"Properly working exterior lighting will add to your home security."
6. Do you have exterior electrical receptacle outlets with waterproof covers?
"About 5,100 injuries from electrical outlets and receptacles are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms annually; nearly half are to children under age 5." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
7. Are your electrical panel's fuses/breakers clearly marked as to the correct room or service area of service? YES No
8. Is there a ground wire connected to the panel? (copper wire clamped to water pipe or copper ground rod) YES No
9. Are there any exposed wires coming out of the fuse box or any exposed electrical wires on the exterior of house?
"All wires should be in a pipe or concealed under the house, in walls or attic."
Yes NO
10. Do you frequently need to replace/reset fuses/breakers? Yes NO
11. Do your lights dim while operating appliances, etc.?
"If lights dim or flicker, it probably indicates an "overload" on a circuit. Consult an electrician."
Yes NO
12. Are all light fixtures working properly and fastened securely to the wall or ceiling? YES No
13. Are all interior electrical receptacles working and do they have "child proof" plugs? YES No
14. Have you detected any burning smells around any fixtures?
"Check all light bulbs for the correct wattage for each fixture. Oversized bulbs can lead to fires."
Yes NO
15. Do you have branch circuit wiring made from aluminum that was manufactured before 1972?
"A qualified electrician should check the system for possible problems at connections, such as at outlets or switches or at major appliances."
Yes NO


1. If your water heater is inside your house, are there any flammable fluids or combustible materials near it?
"Vapors from flammable fluids and combustible materials around your water heater may cause a fire."
Yes NO
2. Is the water heater on a raised platform? YES No
3. Do you detect any strange or burning smell around the water heater? Yes NO
4. Is the water heater vent pipe corroded or damaged? Yes NO
5. Do you have any leaking or dripping faucets?
"Water leaks may lead to fire or electrical shock hazards.”
Yes NO
6. If you have a garbage disposal, does it work properly? YES No
7. Do you have any leaking or dripping faucets? Yes NO
8. Does your washing machine work properly? YES No
9. Are the hot and cold water hoses corroded? Yes NO
10. Do your toilets continue to run after flushing? Yes NO
11. Do you detect any gas smells in or around your house?
"Gas leaks can lead to explosions. Contact a plumber or your gas company immediately if you detect any gas leak."
Yes NO


1. Are your exterior doors solid and have deadbolt locks? YES No
2. Do all windows have locks and work properly and smoothly?
"Screens will not stop a child from falling out an open window. Install locks that prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches. If fire codes permit window guards, install these in the lower half of the window to keep children from falling out."
3. Is there any visible rotten wood on the exterior? Yes NO
4. Are there gutters leaking, rusting or coming loose? Yes NO
5. Does the exterior have excessive mildew or dirt? Yes NO 85. is your roof leaking in any part of your house? Yes NO
6. Is your roof leaking in any part of your house? Yes NO
7. Is your driveway or sidewalk cracked or damaged? Yes NO
8. If you have a garage door, does it work properly and smoothly? YES No
9. Do you have an automatic garage door opener that does not automatically reverse?
"Repair or replace with new garage door opener to prevent children from being trapped and killed under the door. Keep remote control openers out of the reach of children."
Yes NO
10. Is there any broken window or door glass? Yes NO
11. If you have a pool or spa, is there a barrier completely surrounding it?
"Each year about 300 children under the age of 5 drown in home swimming pools. Always supervise children around water." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
12. If you store any pool maintenance chemicals are they in a secure location, locked and out of the reach of children? YES No


1. Do all kitchen appliances work properly? YES No
2. Do you detect any strange smells from around the stove (gas leak)?
"Each year, over 200 deaths and 4,200 injuries occur in stove or oven residential fires." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
Yes NO
3. Are your kitchen appliances covered under any type of warranty? YES No
4. Does your stove/oven have a timer? YES No
5. Do you have afire extinguisher in the kitchen? YES No
6. Do you detect any water leaks from around the sinks, dishwasher or toilets? Yes NO
7. Have you detected any signs of insects, rodents or pests? Yes NO
8. Has your house had an inspection for termites?
"Insects may present a health hazard. Contact a professional pest control company."
9. If you have any pesticides stored in your home are they in a secure location? YES No
10. Do you have kitchen cabinet door locks? YES No
11. Do you have the correct telephone number for your poison control department? YES No
12. Are there any torn or damaged areas in your flooring? Yes NO
13. Are you storing any flammable fluids in your garage or home?
"Combustible materials may be dangerous and should never be store inside."
Yes NO
14. Do you have a First Aid Kit in your house? YES No

Consumer Information Catalog
Pueblo, Colorado 81009

Also offers a catalog of free and low-cost federal publications of consumer interest, such as: Cars, Children, Employment, Education, Federal Benefits, Food, Health, Housing, Money, Small Business, Travel, and more. For more information contact our web site:
Consumer Information Catalog
Pueblo, Colorado 81009 or call 1-888-8 PUEBLO (toll free)

ASE, a non-profit organization was founded in 1972 to help improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.

More than 424,000 ASE-certified automobile, truck and collision repair technicians, engine machinists and parts specialists work in dealerships, independent shops, service stations, auto parts stores, fleets, schools and colleges.
For more information about ASE and ASE-certified technicians, write ASE, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 20171-3421, call us @ 1-703-713-3800 or visit our web site @

Important: To decrease fatalities and lessen injuries, remember to always buckle up and

Don't Drink & Drive.

Always use seat belts and remember the safest place for children age 12 and under is in the rear seat.

The United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

has additional automotive safety information. You can contact their web site at:

To report a safety related vehicle problem or to request information contact the NHTSA toll-free Auto Safety Hotline,
1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

protects the public from injuries and deaths from over 15,000 different kinds of consumer products.

To report unsafe products, or for product safety information, call the CPSC toll-free hotline. 1-800-638-2772 or visit our web site at:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission do not endorse or imply endorsement of any product, service, individual or company mentioned and/or involved in this publication.

Additional safety guides and other consumer information is available from:

The 1-800-REPAIRS/National Safety Campaign at:
1-800-REPAIRS (1-800-737-2477)
The Consumer Information Center/Pueblo Colorado 81009 at:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at:
1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236)
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at:
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) at:
The National Safety Campaign is a not-for profit organization and is funded by 1-800-REPAIRS a national group of qualified and independently owned repair facilities.

1-800-REPAIRS is a toll-free number for information, advice, and for free referral for any type of home or automotive repairs.
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