Take Care of Your Car and Your Car Will Take Care of You
As the winter months approach, it is more important than ever to keep your car in tip-top condition.
The winter weather brings plenty of challenges, particularly for those of us who are reliant on our cars. In the modern era, many people assume that their cars are infallible, and that they do not need the fettling and winter maintenance that we might remember our parents performing back in our childhood.
But while cars are certainly far more reliable today, there are some things that a responsible owner still needs to take care of, to preserve both the safety of occupants and the long term value of the car. From checking the tyres to visiting your car paint suppliers to deal with any minor abrasions as they happen, here are some tips for looking after your beloved wheels this winter.
Get a pre-emptive service
When was the car last serviced? If it is going to be due some time over the next two to three months, save yourself a world of aggravation and get it done now. That way you will have one less thing to worry about right on top of Christmas, and you will know that everything is as it should be. Lots of the garages and chains are offering free or discounted winter checks, so why not take advantage?
Check your fluids
If you are more of a home-maintenance person, then the first, basic checks are to make sure the screenwash and coolant are as they should be. Cheap summer screenwash will freeze if the temperature takes a nosedive, so start to ramp up the mixture now, so you’ll be ready. As for the coolant, nobody wants a cracked engine block, so make certain there isplenty of antifreeze in there. If you’ve been topping up with neat water in the summer months, shame on you! Make up for it by adding a litre or so of neat antifreeze now!
Do the 20p check on tyres
How long have those tyres been on the car? If the answer is “don’t know” or “approximately forever,” it’s time to get your head out of the sand before somebody gets hurt. Perform a visual check of the sidewalls, and do the 20p test on the tread. Pay particular attention to the front and rear edges, and look out for unevenwear there, which might be indicative of either the wrong tyre pressures or the tracking being out. If any of the tyres are past their best, don’t take a chance. Defective tyres are a killer, especially in winter, and even if you avoid an accident, they can cost you a fine and points on your licence.
Deal with any minor damage now
Modern cars don’t go rusty, right? Wrong. They are far better protected than in years gone by, but if that protection is compromised, they can rust with all the enthusiasm of a 1970s Fiat. The salt and grit that will soon be a routine part of our roads only adds to the problem, so if you’ve acquired any minor car park scrapes, now is the time to visit your auto factor or car paint supplier and spend an afternoon sanding, treating, priming and painting to ensure your beloved car comes out of winter looking at its best.