Monday, 19 November 2018

Is Your Car Ready For Winter?*

Winter is fast approaching, and alongside all of the excitement that it brings, there's a lot to consider. Do you have all the ingredients you need for Christmas dinner? Did you remember to buy Auntie Sue a gift? Is your car ready for the journeys you're bound to be making?

Winter in the UK can be highly unpredictable (anyone else still feeling tense at the thought of the Beast from the East?) and it can really impact on day-to-day life. Preparation is key, so alongside making sure you have extra supplies of milk and bread, you need to make sure that your car is ready for the conditions it could be facing!

Make sure your tyres are fit for purpose

Winter is not the time to take chances with your tyres. It only takes a small patch of ice to send you spinning, and if your tyres aren't up to much then you could be in for a disaster. You need to make sure that you aren't driving on worn, damaged tyres - any bulges or cuts are bad news, and you could end up with them blowing while being driven at high speed (trust me, I was lucky to survive a car crash on the M6 due to this!). Check your tyre pressure regularly - don't just wait for the warning light flashes, make sure you are doing this every couple of weeks and definitely before any long journeys. Winter is not the time to be hanging around at the side of the motorway because you've got a puncture or leak. Under-inflated tyres will drastically reduce your ability to handle the car. 

If your tyre tread has a depth of less than 3mm it's time to get them replaced. A good way to check this is to insert a 20p coin into the grooves. If you can see the outer band, your tyres are likely unsafe and could even be illegal. Again, worn tyres drastically increase your odds of aquaplaning or skidding in the winter weather, and in turn make you much more likely to have an accident. You're also at risk of picking up £2500 fine and three penalty points per tyre so it is definitely worth making the effort to get them changed. Make sure you go to a tyre specialist to get them replaced. You can buy good quality and sturdy tyres in Northampton this winter from Calmac Tyres Autocentre, or find your local specialist.

Get your car serviced

There are so many parts of a car that can cause you issues, it can sometimes feel a bit daunting. That's why it's always a good idea to make sure you are keeping up with your car services. So many people I know don't get their car serviced anywhere near as frequently as they should! Services will help spot and deal with any issues before they become big enough to take you off the road, as the last thing you want is your brakes or suspension failing on your drive home for Christmas. Wear and tear is bound to occur over time, so don't just wait for your MOT - not only will having a regular service help to keep your car running smoothly for a longer time, it is much cheaper to have, for instance, your oil replaced than it is to later deal with an engine issue from not doing so! Think of it like taking yourself to the doctor or dentist for a check up - and make sure you get booked in before the winter!

Check your wheel alignment

If your vehicle tends to pull to either side when you are driving on straight roads, your wheel alignment may need checked. When the alignment is off, the tyres will be abnormally worn and will need replaced much earlier than usual. Normal alignment is crucial for minimising wear and tear and ensuring both safety and comfort. Misaligned wheels can cause steering and stability problems, so it's definitely worth getting this adjusted (plus it will save you money in tyre replacements!). Misalignment can occur from accidentally hitting kerbs or particularly nasty potholes, so make sure to get checked if you've had a bit of a bump lately. Steering issues plus ice is never a good combination, so don't put yourself at risk - the process to realign your wheels is quick and easy, and also helps reduce fuel consumption - bonus!

Ensure your AC works!

This sounds like an obvious one, but lots of people think that air conditioning is just for cooling. Not so! You need to have a fully functioning AC unit in order to have consistent heating. This might not sound like an essential at first glance, but with the regular closure of motorways during poor weather, there's a definite chance you could get stuck somewhere for a significant period of time (remember those poor drivers who got stuck on the M8 for 4+ hours?). Without heating, life is going to be pretty miserable. Get yours checked so that if the worst happens and you do get stuck, at least you won't get frostbite!

Those are just a few ways that you can ensure your car is ready for the winter months. It can seem a bit of a pain to have to take your car in for a service or to get the tyres changed, but remember that these are huge pieces of machinery that we risk our lives in! It is most definitely worth making the trip to a specialist to prevent any accidents and injuries to either ourselves or other people. Don't risk it this winter, make sure your car is ready for anything so you can enjoy the festive period without fear of a breakdown!
*This is a sponsored post.

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