As we creep in to autumn and winter, our cars need some extra TLC to ensure they continue to run efficiently and safely.
With 20% of drivers more likely to be in a car accident in winter, there are some checks that you should make before driving your car in cold and icy weather to minimalise the risk of injuring yourself or having to repair or scrap your car.
The RAC advise drivers to follow the FORCES check:
Always check that you have enough fuel in your tank for any journey, particularly those where you know there are limited petrol stations along the way.
When temperatures drop particularly low, it’s best to keep your tank filled above halfway, to prevent condensation building up and causing ice blockages in your fuel lines.
Lack of oil in a vehicle can cause breakdown or even serious engine damage. Oil keeps your car running smoothly, efficiently, and safely and should be checked on a regular basis regardless of whether you have an automatic dashboard or not.
Rubber applies to a few areas of your car, but tyres are the most important, particularly in winter months.
For optimum performance, traction, and grip, tyres should be at the correct pressure with ample tread. Before setting off you should also double check for any splits, bulges or irregularities on your tyres which may cause them to be unsafe.
Next check your wiper blades, check that they actually clear your screen and that there are no tears in the rubber.
To help them last longer, check that they are not frozen to your windscreen as turning them on whilst they are can damage the rubber or even the mechanical elements in some cases. It is a good idea to cover your windscreen with a blanket or an old sheet to keep it ice and snow free.
The days can be a lot more bleak in winter, with darkness appearing much sooner than in the warmer months, so make sure to check that all of your lights are working.
Do a full check of rear and front lights and replace any that have gone out or look dull.
Lights can also help during sunny days when the sun is low and blinding as they can be seen through rays of sunshine.
As well as checking all bulbs, you will also want to check the battery to ensure it is connected properly and safely with no corrosion.
6. Screen wash
In winter it’s a good idea to check your screen wash level and make sure you use screen wash that is effective down to at least -15 degrees Celsius, so that it doesn’t freeze in the tank or the lines.
Roads are a lot dirtier in autumn and winter due to rainfall, mud, and grit on the roads. Keeping screenwash topped up is essential to being able to see the road clearly.
On top of general repairs, these tips are a good way to ensure your car is prepared for the colder weather. Taking time to check over your car could save you a lot of effort and money in the long run.