6 simple motoring checks to keep your car healthy
The weather can be unpredictable, with weeks of rain in summer and warmer weather in winter, perform these 6 simple motoring checks to keep you car healthy.
NO MATTER whether it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter, there are a few things you should check regularly on your car to ensure it’s in top condition to handle either dazzling sun or torrential rain. The worst time on the roads is usually around the change in seasons when the weather becomes unpredictable and drivers might have to deal with sun in the morning and pouring rain in the afternoon.
We’ve compiled a list of basic things to consider to ensure your car’s in the best shape to handle all sorts of weather. In general, it pays to keep a pair of sunglasses in your car for those days when you can’t help but be on the road when the sun is in your eyes. If you do become dazzled make sure you slow down slightly to avoid wandering out of your lane.
And always, always drive with your headlights on. Yes, always means during the day too. It pays to regularly check your car’s vitals, and that means engine oil, radiator coolant level, windscreen washer fluid and tyre pressures – invest in a quality tyre pressure monitor. By getting into the habit of checking a few simple things, and performing some simple remedial work on your car you’ll be prolonging its life, getting your hands dirty and saving money at your mechanics…
Windscreen : In a hot country like Australia, the frequent use of air-conditioning can often leave the inside of windscreens looking hazy. Of course, if you smoke, then this problem is exacerbated. It’s important to ensure both the inside and outside of your windscreen, front and rear, are kept clean.
Windscreen wipers : While there are a raft of clever new windscreen wipers on the market, the general rule of thumb is that they should be changed every two years. You can do this yourself, and keep an eye out for a future Practical Motoring article on how to change windscreen wiper blades. If your wipers are leaving streaks or sound scratch then it’s time to replace them. If you don’t, there ability to remove water from the windscreen is drastically reduced affecting your vision.
Windscreen washer fluid : Here in Australia we don’t really have to worry about windscreen washer fluid freezing in the bottle, but it still pays to fill the bottle with a good quality, purpose-made fluid for cleaning windscreens. Don’t use plain water on its own as it’s not enough to shift stubborn stains like bird droppings or squashed insects that can bake onto the glass.
Battery : While those in the Northern Hemisphere have additional concerns to consider where freezing temperatures can significantly reduce the working life of a car battery due to increased electrical loads. But, similarly, hot days can take their toll due to similar electrical demands with running air-conditioning. It pays to renew your battery every five years.
Tyres : This is the only contact your car has with the road, so it pays to keep a very close eye on the condition of your tyres, as well as the spare and your jack and general toolkit. Your tyres should have a minimum 3mm of tread depth to ensure good grip in all weather conditions. When checking your tyres, look for cuts in the sidewall, splits or bulges.
Lights : Too often car owners neglect to check their headlights and while most modern cars will tell you when a light bulb has blown, you should still routinely check the lights and indicators to ensure they’re not cracked or blown, particulaly on older cars – once a week is a good rule of thumb. And if you notice a defect, get it fixed up straight away. If you do need to change the light bulbs on your car then refer to your owner’s handbook for an explanation. Anyone can do this and you really don’t need a mechanic, although if you’re uncomfortable then, of course, run your car around to your local mechanic and have them change the bulbs for you.
So, let’s use the changing weather as an excuse to get out and perform some simple seasonal motoring checks.