PREPARING YOUR CAR FOR AUTUMN

As the leaves on the trees start to change colour and we begin approaching the end of the year, driving conditions can become tricky.

Added: 01 November 2019

As the leaves on the trees start to change colour and we begin approaching the end of the year, driving conditions can become tricky. Whether it’s heavy rainfall, slippery leaves on the road or even low sun, autumnal conditions can present their own unique set of challenges to drivers. Whilst these driving conditions aren’t always avoidable, there are ways to ensure that your car is ready for these encounters. With a couple of simple checks, you can be confident that your car is prepared for autumnal driving conditions.

As the leaves on the trees start to change colour and we begin approaching the end of the year, driving conditions can become tricky. Whether it’s heavy rainfall, slippery leaves on the road or even low sun, autumnal conditions can present their own unique set of challenges to drivers. Whilst these driving conditions aren’t always avoidable, there are ways to ensure that your car is ready for these encounters. With a couple of simple checks, you can be confident that your car is prepared for autumnal driving conditions.

Clean your windscreen
If you’ve noticed dust gathering in your car, it might be due a clean and there’s no time like the present! The damp autumnal weather mixed with low sun and a grubby windscreen can be a dangerous combination. You’ll find that in these conditions, every mark on your windscreen will be accentuated - making it difficult to see clearly.

To prevent this from happening, simply grab a bottle of windscreen cleaner and a microfibre cloth. Clean the inside of your windscreen and other windows to prevent them from misting up and bare in mind that if they’re really dirty, you find that you need to go over them twice.

Look for chips in your windscreen
Have a check of your windscreen and if you can see any fresh chips, you should have them repaired before the dirty weather sets in. This will help prevent filling the cracks with debris from the road, or expanding into a crack.

Check your windscreen wipers
Have your replaced your windscreen wipers recently? If not, it’s best that you check the condition of them and replace them if necessary. The rubber should not be frayed or split and the wipers should easily clear your windscreen without smearing anything across it.

Check your lights
Be sure to do a thorough check of your car’s light bulbs in order to ensure that they’re in good working condition. Have someone walk around your car as you try the headlights, taillights, brakelights, indicators, fog lights - and not forgetting the reverse light.

Check your tyres
Your tyres are a vital part of staying safe when on the road, so your tyre tread depth should be checked on a regular basis. By law, you’re required to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of your car tyres - however the AA recommends that there should be at least 3mm of tread ready for the change in driving conditions.

As autumn approaches, the roads will be more likely to become wet and slippery - plus they will be covered in fallen leaves which become extremely slippery when left to turn into a soggy mulch.

Look under the bonnet
It’s crucial that you remember to check the fluids under the bonnet of your car. You should do this once the engine has had the chance to cool down. Grab your vehicle handbook, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in!

Starting with the screenwash, ensure that this is kept topped up at all times. Your windscreen is bound to end up covered in debris, such as dirt and grit from the road and you won’t want to be caught without screenwash.

Next you should check your antifreeze and if this needs topping up, be sure to check your vehicle’s handbook for details of the correct antifreeze to use. Don’t forget that using the incorrect antifreeze could cause damage to your car’s engine.

Finally, is your engine oil topped up? Depending on your car, you’ll either need to grab some tissue and remove the dipstick, or check your car’s onboard computer. If you’re checking the dipstick, the oil should be between the minimum and maximum marks. If not, you’ll need to top it up with the correct engine oil for your car.

PREPARING YOUR CAR FOR AUTUMN