Is your car ready for autumn and winter? As we’re writing this, it’s nearing the end of September so we know that this summer sun isn’t going to last much longer. Leaves are already beginning to fall, and the temperature has definitely become lower. Before you dig the leaf blower out of the garage or pop the heating on for the first time, take a look below at some important car checks you should now be adding to your routine.
How to Check Your Windscreens and wipers
In the UK, we are blessed with weather that can change in the blink of an eye. – bright sunshine to your left, dark gloomy storm clouds to the right. A sudden onset of heavy rain can quickly bring some issues to light with your windscreen and wipers.
Make sure to check your wipers to see if they are leaving behind streaks or bouncing. If so, then it’s time to get some new ones fitted. These are a cheap and quick fix you can do that is really important. If heavy rain or spray from another vehicle can’t be removed quickly and efficiently, then you are going to struggle to see ahead.
Check your windscreen for cracks or chips too. One large bump can quickly turn a chip into a crack!
Prepare yourself with some de-icer for those icy mornings. Keeping a fresh can of this in your glove box will save you a lot of time in the morning. If you don’t have any de-icer, a watering can with lukewarm water can quickly melt away the ice. But do this with care – hot water can cause the windscreen to crack!
Quick Brake Checks
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that your brakes are important to your driving safety and ability. With the roads now becoming wetter and possibly icy again, even more pressure is placed upon your brakes.
You can give the brakes a visual inspection, looking for any damage, cracks or similar. Gently test your brakes on an empty road to listen out for any strange noises, pulling to the side or vibrations through the pedal. Any issues should be taken for repair straight away. It’s not worth the risk!
The Best Way to Check Your Car Lights
As the days shorten and the night sky starts arriving before 5 pm, you’ll most likely spend more time driving with your lights on than off. Therefore, it’s really important that you regularly check that all your lights are in working order. This includes headlights, taillights, brakes and indicators.
If you have a friend with you, checking your lights couldn’t be easier, just ask them to check. However, if you are alone, try parking in front of a shop window so you can check your lights in the reflection.
Without proper working lights, other drivers may struggle to see you in the dark and this could cause a collision. Bulbs are cheap and easy to replace so don’t put this off!
Easy Tyre Checks
Autumn and winter will be the most difficult seasons for your tyres, with the roads full of water, leaves, snow, slush and ice. Tyres that are not in a good decision can be extremely dangerous.
Be sure to have a good look over your tyres to check for wear and damage. Remember that the minimum required tyre tread depth is 1.6mm although we always recommend at least 2mm in poor weather. If your tread depth is less than 1.6mm, then your tyres are illegal and you will need to invest in some new ones as soon as possible. Whilst you’re at it, make sure to check your sidewalls for damage too, any signs of gashes, rips or tears will need replacing.
Make Sure Your Ventilation is Working
Your air-conditioning system can quickly help demist a foggy windscreen. With that being said, poor ventilation can cause bad visibility too. If your windows become too steamed up and you are struggling to see, you could either miss a hazard or become distracted trying to clear the screen.
The air-conditioning is perfect for demisting windows as it dehumidifies the air quickly. If your air-con isn’t as cool or has begun to smell funny, then you will need an air-con service booking in sooner rather than later.
Our best advice:
You should aim to do these checks at least once a week, to make sure that your vehicle is always in the best condition. If you do notice any issues, make sure to get them repaired as soon as possible and limit your driving.
We understand that you won’t want to be spending too much time outside when the weather is rubbish, but it really is worthwhile to ensure that you can drive safely.