Obviously keeping on top of car maintenance is a year round essential, but as the colder weather approaches it pays even more so to run some vital checks. Bob and I found this out for ourselves just a couple of days before we were due to set off on our (almost) 1500 mile round trip to Scotland- he was doing some essential pre-journey checks when he discovered a hole in the engine (where there most definitely shouldn’t be a hole!) Had he not have done these checks we wouldn’t have found out until it was too late- probably stranded somewhere between Inverness and the back and beyond! Thankfully he was able to get the part and get things fixed- and both the car, and ourselves survived many an hour on the road.
Here are a few checks that are especially important at this time of year:
(Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash)
Although in the UK it rains all year round, the rain and storms that come with the Autumn and Winter can be especially heavy. Check that your windscreen wipers aren’t dragging or leaving streaks- if they are then it’s time to replace the blades and make sure you have de-icer and an ice scraper at your disposal. If you have any chips in your screen then take the time to get them repaired, what starts out as one small ding can soon turn in to a rather large, and expensive crack.
Now is definitely the time to make sure your brakes are functioning at full capacity. With wet and perhaps icy roads on their way it really isn’t worth running the risk of not being able to stop when you need to, quickly and efficiently. Check your brake fluid and the brake discs- you can top up the fluid yourself if you need it, and if your discs are worn you can get them replaced easily, or even do it yourself if you know how.
Linked to brakes, safe and roadworthy tyres are another essential, 2mm tyre tread is recommended for winter driving (and the legal requirement is at least 1.6mm). Check for damage on the walls of the tyres too- any bulging or gashed tyres need to be replaced.
As the dark evenings draw in make sure you’ve checked that your head, brake and indicator lights are all fully functioning. Bulbs are relatively cheap and easy to replace (and you can’t put a price on road safety anyway!) Having any lights not properly working puts both yourself, other road users and pedestrians at risk.
On the whole this is the perfect time of year to give your entire car a once over, you can book in for routine checks of all parts- brands like Ossett Tyre House offer free car exhuasts inspection in West Yorkshire and you’ll find similar services all across the UK.
Do you have any car horror stories to share? What are your top tips for safe winter driving?