We bid farewell to the sunny heights of summer
We welcome the idea that autumn is now on the scene. With it comes a new set of challenges for a car, with usually wetter and colder weather sweeping in.
But are there any measures you can take before this weather arrives to help your car? As it so happens, there are - so we’ve picked out some of the top ways you can prepare your car for autumn.
Though we don’t tend to drive through as much grit and salt as during autumn and winter, during the summertime a car’s windscreen can still take a hammering. With many people doing longer journeys than they might do usually, windscreens can often be prone to chips during warmer weather.
But this can prove disastrous when the temperature starts to fall, as these small chips can quickly transform into cracks. Many third-party companies are able to perform spot repairs on these chips, injecting them with a resin that prevents them from turning into a crack. It’s certainly better than having to pay for a whole new windscreen further down the line.
Your car’s lights become even more important during autumn and winter where visibility is paramount. During the longer daytime hours of summer you may not have used your lights quite as much as usual, so now is a great time to make sure that they’re all functioning correctly.
This is easiest to do with a friend or relative helping you out. Try all your major lights including indicators and full beams. If any bulbs have blown they’ll need to be replaced, either by yourself at home or by a trained professional.
Your car’s battery is one of those components that takes a real hit when the temperatures fall. During the summer, you’ll have no doubt been using a number of energy-intensive features in your car, such as the air conditioning and electric windows. All of this puts strain on the battery which, because of this, might not be heading into autumn in a tip-top state.
So if the temperatures fall and your car starts to exhibit signs that it is struggling to get going, it might be best to replace the battery with a new, stronger version.
During the summer holiday period, many cars are doing more miles than normal. As a result of this, a number of cars head into winter with a lot less tyre tread than you might expect. So checking them before the weather really changes - and when you rely on tyres a lot more for stopping and gripping - is important. You could also face a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre if they’re found to be at an illegal depth.
The legal tread depth limit in the UK is 1.6mm, though it’s a good idea to swap them out well before this. You can check your own tyre tread depths by using a depth gauge, or by using a 20p coin. Insert the coin into the tyre’s grooves and if the outer band is obscured, they’re within the limit. If you can see that outer band, then the tyres definitely need swapping out.
Your brakes are one of the most crucial aspects of your car. They’re what you rely on to bring your car to a stop and after plenty of use during summer, they might have worn down more than you might expect.
The usual hallmarks of a set of brakes on their way out are grinding noises when you’re slowing down, or the vehicle pulling to the left or right. They simply might stop as effectively as they once did. If there’s any vibration, your discs might be warped, which will mean they need replacing. If your car is showing any of these issues, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a trained mechanic.