Why is car maintenance important in the autumn?
Autumn has arrived and the clocks will soon be going back to mark the start of the winter season. This is the perfect opportunity to get your car ready for the season ahead. It’s a good idea to give your car a thorough once-over now before the cold weather and dark evenings take hold.
Check now and save problems later!
1. Wipers and windscreen
As the weather gets worse, the chances of driving in the rain are more frequent which can lead to poor visibility. A priority for your safety is to ensure you can see clearly out of your windscreen. If your windscreen wipers aren’t working, they will leave a streaky mess over the windshield and ‘bounce’ over the glass, it’s time to replace your wipers. Invest in a good de-icer and ice scraper so you are prepared for the first icy morning.
Ensure your heater system in the car is working properly as this will help to demist and defrost the windows, while also keeping you warm. Check that the heater is blowing warm air at different settings. If little or no air comes out of the vent this may be a sign of something wrong with the motor. Get this checked now before it gets worse in the winter.
With Grip levels lower in autumn due to the rainy weather and potentially icy conditions, drivers must ensure their braking performance is as strong as possible. Brakes are crucial for driving safely and the cold weather heightens brake problems. Listen for unusual noises that may suggest an issue with brakes, get your brakes checked by a mechanic for extra peace of mind.
4. Tyre checks
Winter season is when your tyres need to be at their best, check them now to ensure they have the proper tread, no cracks and they’re inflated to the recommended level. The Legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, so replace them straight away if they are below the limit. Remember that the cold weather causes tyres to lose air more quickly.
Shorter periods of daylight means you are more likely to be driving in the dark. It is extremely important that your lights are working as they should be. Drivers should check the bulbs frequently. The driver’s handbook should show you how to change the bulbs but some may require a visit to a garage.
6. Check fluid levels
It is important to replace your car’s fluid levels. This includes washer, transmission, coolant, brake and power steering fluids. These are very important to ensure your car runs smoothly. Washer fluid is important for maintaining visibility. Transmission fluid is important for cooling. Coolant regulates the engine’s temperature, while brake fluid serves as a lubricant, preventing corrosion. Power steering fluid is crucial for operating the vehicle.
7. Battery check
According to breakdown recovery organisations, batteries are the most common cause of breakdowns. In autumn and winter, there is an extra strain on your car battery. Cold weather means more power from the battery is needed to get the car started. Batteries typically last about 4-5 years but can fail without warning. If you’re not sure how to check your battery take your car to a professional to make sure it is charging properly.
8. Prepare for the Cold Weather
Getting stranded on the side of the road any time of the year is not fun. As the weather turns cooler, you especially need to be prepared for a roadside emergency. Be prepared if a situation like this were to occur. Stock your vehicle with the following items:
- Ice scraper
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
It’s not a huge list of items, but these 8 tips could help prepare you and your car for colder months, a short commute can quickly become difficult when your vehicle isn’t prepared to handle the colder temperatures.