02 Nov 2017
5 Autumn Car Checks
5 checks to keep you and your car on the road this autumn
OUR constant-change climate puts hidden stresses on our cars. Think about it: one day it’s raining, the next it’s boiling, the next windy, frosty. It all adds up to extra wear-and-tear. And not just on our cars but on us, the drivers.
Now that autumn has taken a firm grip, it is definitely time to give your car a serious check-over for the darker, colder, wetter evenings.
Here are five, low-cost, essentials you need in perfect working order for your own safety, that of your passengers and other road users. And catching something now will save you money on bigger trouble later on.
Tyres: Check them for pressure, cuts, lumps, uneven wear. Take your time. Tyres are your only contact with the road. You need them in tip-top condition especially as tests continuously show it takes much longer to stop on wet roads than it does on dry surfaces. You may have got away with it over the relatively dry summer but faults can magnify under tougher conditions. Good tyres in top condition could make the difference between life and death in emergency braking. If in any doubt get an expert to check them over and replace as advised. And don’t forget the spare (if you have one).
Lights: Obvious, but overlooked, judging by the number of faulty-headlight cars driving around. Check front and back and have someone watch for the brake lights when you press the pedal. Check for cracks in the coverings. The motto is: See and Be Seen.
Coolant/oil: Check it is at its proper level. It is so easy to forget – until it is too late and the engine overheats, potentially causing costly harm. Low oil levels suggest all is not well somewhere but some cars naturally use more than others. You should never let levels dip to minimum anyway.
Mechanicals: Best to get your garage check your brakes, clutch and general workings of the engine and suspension. It’s worth spending a few euro for a quick once-over.
Clean-up/inside: Make sure you have maximum visibility. That means having plenty of windshield liquid, that the interior and wing mirrors are clean and not cracked (and working if electric) and that the rear window is fully cleaned. The difference in visibility can be significant. Also give a quick run-through of the cabin to ensure the handbrake is working properly and the seat-belts/fittings are not frayed (it can happen in a busy family car).
Safe driving – and here’s hoping we get a mild winter.
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