SuperDriver Learning Centre - How to set the car up
Sometimes referred to as the cockpit drill, this is how to set your car up before driving.
1. UNLOCKING YOUR CAR
There are a number of ways to unlock your car - key, fob, card or just by approaching it. My car has a card similar to the image on the right. It unlocks the car as i approach it. Check around you to make sure it is safe before opening the door. Once inside close the door.
2. ARE YOUR DOORS CLOSED?
Looking through the door mirrors, you should notice if the doors are closed. If the doors are not closed correctly the interior light will illuminate and there may be a warning symbol on the dashboard.
3. ADJUST YOUR SEAT
Depending on the car you are driving there are many ways to set your seating position. Seats have height adjustment, adjust for rake and tilt. Some have additional lumbar support. The adjustments could be manual or electronic and some have memory seats.
In addition, in most cars the steering wheel will also adjust for reach and tilt. Spend some time getting it right.
Don't forget your head restraint. If it adjusts, line the centre height of your head restraint with the top of your ears.
4. ADJUST YOUR MIRRORS
Once you are sat comfortably it is time to adjust your mirrors. You have 3 mirrors.
Without putting your fingerprints on the mirror, adjust your interior mirror. You should see all four corners of the rear screen in this mirror. If you cannot see all four corners, adjust to see more of the offside (your side of the car). This mirror is flat glass. It is not magnified.
The door mirrors are electrically operated. The image to the right shows what you should see. The door mirrors are convex, this means what you see in these mirrors will look further away than what they actually are.
Circled in red are the buttons used to make the adjustment. You have buttons selecting which mirror will be adjusted and 4 arrows buttons to make the adjustments. It's very similar for most cars although placement may differ. The image shows the mirror adjuster buttons on the offside door arm rest.
5. PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON
Fasten your seatbelt. No folds, not under your arm. Listen for the reassuring click. If you forget, most cars have a symbol on the dashboard that will illuminate and a audible alert.
6. CHECK YOUR FUEL LEVEL or BATTERY PERCENTAGE
The image top right shows the instrument binnacle for a Renault Zoe. Its electric. You can clearly see the remaining percentage in the red circled area.
Below that is a typical diesel or petrol fuel gauge. Notice the arrow next to the fuel symbol in the red circled area. This indicates which side of the car you re-fuel from.
Your car may not show the level until it is started or turned on.
7. HOW TO START THE CAR
It could be a turn of the key or a button. Here are some typical ways to start a car.
If it's a button, hold down the brake pedal and press start.
If it's a key, make sure you are in Park (automatic) hold down the brake pedal and turn the key clock wise. There are several notches before the car starts.
If it's a manual car, make sure you are in neutral and turn the key clock wise.