Mike Waters' blog 31st October: Changing times
31 October 2014
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company
The clocks have changed and suddenly it feels a bit like Winter. The heater in my car is working overtime as I try to adjust to the falling temperatures and I'm doing a good percentage of my driving in the dark.
But I'm not the only one that needs to work a bit harder to deal with the driving conditions; my car does too. A more challenging driving environment means that your vehicle will be put through its paces over the coming months, and while we should properly maintain our cars for 12 months of the year, it's especially important during the Winter. If you read the guidance on car maintenance through the Winter nothing has really changed for a few years, however it's always worth a quick reminder.
The best place to start is with tyres - it's vital to regularly check tread depth and tyre pressures. You should change your tyres as soon as the tread reaches 2mm and you might not know this but always check your tyre pressures when they're cold.
Maintaining fluid levels includes keeping oil levels topped up, although overfilling it which can do more harm than good, and checking coolant and brake fluid levels.
Being able to see through your windscreen is obviously key so as well as keeping the washer fluid topped up, check your wiper blades and keep your screen clean. The same goes for lights, without them you're a danger, so make sure your front and rear lights and indicators are working properly.
Your car battery will face a severe test this Winter because of the extra demands of running heating fans and lights. Short journeys can put extra strain on it so try to plan a longer run occasionally and consider switching off energy sapping equipment if it's safe to do so.
Plus you should pack a few things in case of an emergency. The list should include your mobile phone, de-icer, warm clothes and a blanket, food and water, boots or suitable footwear and even a spade - you never know when you're going to need to dig your car out of the snow!
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.