Pre-departure taxi driver vehicle checks

As taxi drivers, our vehicle isn't just a mode of transport - it's our office, our livelihood, and a representation of our professional service. Thus, keeping it in optimal condition is paramount. This comprehensive guide provides a detailed checklist to ensure your taxi is safe, comfortable, and reliable for each journey.


Under the bonnet inspections


Engine oil examination

The lifeblood of your vehicle's engine is the oil. It lubricates moving parts, reducing friction and preventing overheating. Check the oil level using the dipstick, ensuring it sits within the ideal operating range. If it's dark in colour, consider an oil change.


Fluid levels assessment

Apart from engine oil, other vital fluids include power steering and transmission fluid. They should ideally appear pink and without foreign particles. A burnt smell indicates the need for replacement.


Cooling system review

Ensure the coolant level reaches the full line on the reservoir. If it's low, replenish it with an appropriate mix of distilled water and pure coolant. Check hoses, the radiator, and ensure the fan operates correctly.


Battery check

Slow cranking of the engine could indicate a near-drained battery. Examine the mounting security and look for terminal corrosion.


Brake fluid inspection

The brake fluid level should not exceed the maximum level. Its colour should be clear. A darkening of the fluid calls for a replacement.


Air filter check

A clean air filter ensures the engine receives a sufficient supply of clean air. Also, check the cabin filter for a fresher in-car environment.


Inspection of engine belts and hoses

Examine the engine belts and hoses when the engine is cool. Check for proper attachment, cracks, abrasions, leaks, and other irregularities.


Listening for unusual engine noises

Tics, rattles, pings, and squeaks from the engine could spell trouble. If you notice an unusually loud exhaust sound, have the car checked.


Leak detection

Taxi drivers should look for signs of leakage on the ground where you park your vehicle. Also, check under the bonnet near fluid reservoirs.

 Important taxi driver pre-departure checks

Taxi insurance considerations

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Exterior checks


Tyre examination

Maintain the recommended tyre pressure for optimal safety. Check for uneven tread wear, indicating poor wheel alignment.


Wipers assessment

Ensure the wiper blades clear the windshield effectively, leaving no streaks or gaps.


Light inspection

Check all lights, including headlights, rear lights, brake lights, corner lights, and signal light. Enlist the help of another person for this check.


Spare tyre check

A spare tyre is useless if underinflated. Regularly check its condition and ensure it's inflated to the recommended pressure.


Windshield evaluation

Check the windshield for cracks, scratches, or other abnormalities that may obstruct your view.


Auto emergency equipment review

Keep essential emergency repair tools such as flashlights, screwdrivers, and a car jump starter in your vehicle.


Body damage inspection

Look for dents and scratches. These might not only affect aesthetics but could also indicate potential larger problems.


Interior checks

 Mechanic handling vehicle tyres

Brake test

Listen for metal-on-metal grinding noises when stepping on the brake pedal, indicating worn-out brake pads.


Mirror adjustment

Ensure side and rear view mirrors are clear, damage-free, and correctly positioned.


Seat belt test

Perform a tug test on the seat belts to ensure their security.


Dashboard warning light check

Upon ignition, all warning lights should flash on momentarily. If any light fails to blink, it could indicate an electrical system issue.


Transmission check

Pay attention to unusual sounds when shifting gears. If you notice any, take the vehicle to a professional for a check.


Clutch test

The clutch should not feel spongy or hard. Listen for any unusual sounds when engaging the clutch.


Air conditioning system check

Check the fan, compressor, and other parts of the air conditioning system.


Turn signal inspection

Ensure all turn signals work correctly. They are vital for communicating with other road users.



As a taxi driver, performing these checks regularly not only ensures the safety and comfort of your passengers but also helps prevent costly repairs in the long run. Remember, a well-maintained car is your best partner on the road.


Frequently asked questions


What are the 5 most important vehicle checks before driving off?

Before hitting the road, it's essential to perform a few essential vehicle checks to ensure safety and efficiency. Firstly, always check your tyre pressure; under-inflated tyres can lead to decreased control and even blowouts. Secondly, oil levels should be regularly inspected to prevent engine damage. Thirdly, ensure your headlights, tail lights, and indicators are functioning properly for clear visibility and communication on the road. Lastly, always verify if your wipers and washer fluid are working well to maintain clear vision in rainy or dirty conditions.


While it may not be a written legal requirement in the UK to perform safety checks before each drive, it is a driver's responsibility to ensure their vehicle is safe for the road. Regular checks of tyre tread depth, brake lights and indicators are essential to avoid accidents. Not to mention, you could be fined or get points on your license if your vehicle is found to be in a dangerous condition. So, while it might not be explicitly required by law, carrying out vehicle safety checks is a practice every responsible taxi driver should adopt.


What are the daily vehicle checks for a taxi driver?

As a taxi driver, the responsibility of ensuring a safe and comfortable ride for passengers falls on you. There are several daily walkaround checks you should make to ensure your taxi is in top-notch condition. To begin your walkaround check, inspect the lights, wipers, and horn to ensure they're working correctly. Don't forget to check the oil and coolant levels, the more detail you put into your check, the safer your ride will become. Also, review your taxi’s brakes, steering, and transmission systems. These checks can help prevent breakdowns and maintain a reliable service for your passengers.