The winter can be the most testing of weathers for both man and machine. Whilst you can wrap up warm and drink hot chocolate every half an hour, your car (unless it’s a Transformer named Optimus Prime) cannot.
This is one of the times of the year where your vehicle needs a bit more TLC and it doesn’t take very long to do it either.
If you are going back to work and driving then you need to take heed of the advice in this article so that you and your vehicle can start your year off to a flyer.
There have been grumblings about a rise in the traffic volume from the government. Since you are likely to spending more in your car in this winter season, we want to make sure you and your car are as comfortable as possible.
Here are a few simple checks you can do on your car for maximum comfort and efficiency this winter.
Forget the bumps and scratches for a moment and let’s think about the tyres, lights and windscreen wipers. That’s what we mean by ‘the exterior’.
These three components have as much importance in the smooth running of your vehicle as the engine does. So let’s look at what you need to do to get them in tip top shape before your work commute.
There are two areas for you to look out for: Air pressure level and tread depth.
Every tyre has an optimum air pressure level, too low or too high will either deflate or over-inflate your tyres. Please make sure you get on top of this one as no one wants a flat tyre whilst driving. You can purchase an air compressor made by Ring for £25 as tested on Auto Express.
Next up, tread depth. The tyre’s tread depth should be no less than 2mm otherwise there is a possibility it will not be road worthy and could incur fines of up to £10,000 (That’s right, £2,500 per tyre).
To check the tread depth, insert a 20 pence piece between the grooves of your tyre. If the 20p outer band is obscured, you have a legal road worthy car. If you can still see the outer band, your tyres may not be roadworthy.
There are simply two things to look out for when checking your windscreen wipers.
The first being if your wipers leave water smeared on your window. The second being tough rubber tips on the blades of the wipers.
Wipers shouldn’t be very expensive, you can get a decent pair for £20 on a site like Wiperblades. The website also provides a matching service so that you can find the same wipers for the make of your car.
Make sure to check your headlight, tail lights, brake lights, indicators and side lights for faults. If you need to replace a bulb you can either consult your vehicle manual or drive into your local garage.
It’s okay, we don’t want you to dismantle and put back together the engine in an hour here. Rather, this check is about the windscreen cleaning functionality, coolant and oil levels.
First you’ll want to check the coolant
As you have probably experienced, either as a driver or a passenger, the winter is ugly and can be even uglier to car engines. Checking the coolant levels allows you to be reassured that your vehicle’s temperature does not go beyond or below optimum.
To check your coolant levels you must simply root out the clear plastic tank, then check that the coolant liquid is between both minimum and maximum markers.
Many new cars have digital oil level displays these days and this most times means there is no need to manually check the oil levels. However, if you don’t have a digital oil display you will have to check the oil levels manually. Here’s how:
It’s messy down there, in case you’ve never been near your engine, so you’ll need something to grab and clean the dipstick – perhaps a kitchen towel. Once you have cleaned the dipstick, you will need to reinsert it back into the tank to find out your oil levels. Again, the markers (min and max) will inform you if you need to refill the tank.
Unlike the last check, this check focuses on what comes out of your windscreen wipers. The last thing want is for everything to be working perfectly but dirty water comes out of your wipers. This preventative measure will alleviate this. Mix some water and windscreen washer fluids together and deposit into the reservoir tank for a nice sparkly window.
As stated earlier, the cold can be kryptonite to your car and none more so than to your car battery. If your car has been inactive for even a couple of days during the winter, it can prove a task to restart it.
To avoid this, we suggest that you take your car for a 20 minute spin in a timely manner to ensure that when you finally head out for work, your car fires on all cylinders.
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