Seven crucial car checks for when the weather gets colder
From tyres to battery health and lighting, the colder weather makes life tougher for cars. Here are seven key issues so you can do some simple trouble-shooting...
After the blisteringly hot summer of 2022, autumn is upon us, which means increased rainfall, darker evenings and a whole new set of things for drivers to think about. As the temperatures start to drop it’s important to make sure that your car is ready for the colder weather, which you can by following this seven step guide to basic car maintenance.
Increased rainfall means slicker roads, which means it is even more vital that you maintain the correct tyre pressure: underinflated tyres are a major cause of blowouts but they also impact on your braking distance, which is the last thing you want as the evenings draw in and the roads are covered in wet leaves. Your car’s handbook should include everything you need to know about the optimum pressure for your tyres, and don’t forget to check the pressure of the spare tyre, which can lose pressure even when it is not in use. Anyone struggling to find out the required pressure for their tyres can find out by putting their vehicle registration into Kwik Fit’s online tyre pressure checker.
Tyre pressure should be top of your list check-wise so you can stay safe on leaf-clad roads
(Shutterstock / MagioreStock)
Your brakes are only as good as your tyres – it’s the rubber, after all, that is actually in contact with the ground – so it’s vital that you keep an eye on the tread of your tyres. Handily, there’s an easy test that anyone can do to check the remaining tread: put a 20p piece into the tread and if you can see the outer edge of the coin then it’s time to the get the tyre replaced.
If you’re unsure about the tread of your tyres, or you’re concerned that they might be cracked or bulging after the hot summer weather, then book a free no-obligation tyre check at your local Kwik Fit centre. They have over 50 years of experience, and have more than 600 centres across the UK, most of which are open 7 days a week.
It would be a mistake to think that the air-conditioning in your car is a luxury that’s there simply to make your journey more pleasant on a hot day. In reality, it’s an important part of the windscreen demisting process, which it aids by drawing moisture out of the air. As it gets colder, your windows are more likely to get foggier, so it’s important to make sure that your system is functioning properly to ensure you can see the road ahead. If it’s not, it might be worthwhile having a free air-con check, which is available at most Kwik Fit centres – they can then let you know whether you need a recharge or not.
Ensuring your air con is in good shape will help with demisting windows in the colder months
Cars have a long list of vitally important lights including headlights, brake lights, reverse light, and indicators, through to the internal cabin light, which can be a huge help if you get lost in the dark. All of these different lights are likely to have different bulbs, some of which are easy to replace, others much less so. If you’ve got a blown bulb which is proving particularly tricky to change head to Kwik Fit where they stock high-performance bulbs, and their experts can fit them for you.
It’s likely that your windscreen wipers are the most delicate part of your car and inevitably they’ll need replacing over time. If you can see any splits in the rubber edge of the blade there’s a good chance that your wipers won’t be clearing the water properly and you could be left with streaks on the window which impair visibility. You can use Kwik Fit’s wiper blade checker to order the right replacement blades online and choose a convenient appointment to take your car in to your local centre to get them fitted.
A simple screenwash check is another essential, with wet weather meaning muddier roads
Wetter weather means muddier roads which means more grime on your windscreen. Screenwash may be the humblest of the fluids that you need to keep an eye on – the other two are engine oil and coolant, both of which need to be monitored and topped up – but when it’s chucking it down on a blustery November day and you are on a leaf-strewn country lane behind an enormous great tractor, you’ll be awfully glad you refilled yours before you set off.
Cold and wet weather can be the final straw for a battery that is near the end of its life, if nothing else just for the extra effort required to get a car going in the morning. And with battery failure being the number one cause of breakdowns in the UK, the last thing you want is to be standing on the side of the road in the driving rain, waiting for vehicle recovery to come and save you. Mercifully, Kwik Fit do a free battery health check so you can make sure yours is fighting fit. You can book in for the check here.
With over 600 centres UK-wide, Kwik Fit are committed to helping keep your car running smoothly and safely all year round, whatever the weather. If you think your vehicle might need a little extra TLC this Autumn, pop into your local Kwik Fit for their free vehicle safety check –click here to find out more.