The weather has taken a turn for the worse recently, so with driving in autumn very much on the agenda, we thought we’d bring you a handy guide on the must-do vehicle checks you should perform as we approach the colder seasons.
As the mercury drops and drizzle starts to fall – not to mention other factors such as more potholes emerging, falling leaves blanketing roads and the nights drawing in – there are some vital checks you need to make to your car to ensure it’s ready for the change in conditions.
This October is Tyre Safety month, so it’s doubly important that you’re aware what conditions your car’s rubber is in.
The minimum amount of tread your tyre is required to have by law is 1.6mm across the central three-quarter part of its surface. However, for driving in the autumn and winter months, we suggest at least 2mm of tread.
Check the sidewalls of your tyres for any nasty gashes or scrapes and replace the items if necessary.
Your car’s tyres are the only point of contact with the road and have to deal with accelerating, braking and steering your car in some tricky conditions on occasion.
Think about opting for some specialist winter tyres as well, as these can be re-used in subsequent autumn and winter seasons and may afford you better grip (and therefore peace of mind) if the road is wet or slippy.
WINDSCREEN AND WIPERS
As the weather gets worse, the chances are you’ll be driving in the rain more frequently.
Visibility is therefore a number one safety requirement, so ensure you can see clearly out of your windscreen – it sounds simple but you’d be amazed at the number of motorists who struggle on with cracked glass and worn wiper blades.
If when your windscreen wipers are working they leave a streaky mess over the windshield and ‘bounce’ over the glass, they’ve gone hard and are now useless.
In a down pour or on a motorway full of spray – like when passing a truck, for example – they won’t effectively wipe the water away and could almost leave you driving blind.
Make sure you get a new set that wipe smoothly and clean the screen effectively.
AIR CONDITIONING AND VENTILATION
It’s not just the exterior of the glass that has to be clear though – make sure your car isn’t steaming up inside as this can restrict your view all around. Consider re-gassing your vehicle’s air conditioning if it has it and this is a problem.
This will help keep the glass clear and your vision crystal, improving safety as a result.
HEADLIGHTS, TAILLIGHTS AND INDICATORS
It’s as important to be seen as it is to see out of your car, so make sure all headlight, taillight and indicator bulbs are fully working.
With grey, drizzly conditions and increased hours of darkness, making sure you can see other road users around you and that they can see you can help reduce accidents at a riskier time of year.
With grip levels often lower in autumn due to rainy roads and, in some cases, a blanket of slippery leaves, ensuring your vehicle’s braking performance is as strong as possible is a good way to reduce your crash risk. Get your brakes checked by a qualified mechanic for added peace of mind.
We’ve put together five vital tips that can help you enjoy driving more in autumn and importantly keep you safer on the roads as a time of year when accidents can increase – but can you think of any more?
We want to hear how your prepare your car for autumn and what must-do vehicle checks you won’t miss out on.