Autumn is here, which means that months of bad weather and dark evenings and mornings lie ahead. While it can be a cosy and fun time of year, it’s also the most dangerous for driving conditions. Falling leaves can cause mulch and slippery roads, while extended darkness and heavy rain can create their own hazards. Before the temperature drops any further, make some simple car checks to make sure your vehicle is fit for the road this season.
Your windscreen is exposed to an awful lot during autumn and winter, so it’s crucial that it is clear and in good condition. Remember that anything that is blocking your view – even if it is just dirt – can be hazardous. If there are any chips in the glass, these should be repaired before they are left to worsen and expand.
Next you should check the windscreen wipers are ready for the seasonal rain. The wipers should clean the screen without smearing, and obviously if they are damaged they need to be replaced.
Next it’s time to get under the bonnet for some quick maintenance checks. First of all, you’ll probably find some leaves have found their way under the bonnet – clear them out so they don’t obstruct the engine or other parts.
Screen wash – top up your screenwash according to manufacturer’s guidelines to keep the windscreen clean during autumn weather.
Engine coolant – Check the level of engine coolant is correct and top it up if needed. This is also where you need to put the anti-freeze, but the mix needs to be accurate so ask your local garage to help.
At this time of year, road surfaces can be slippy and dangerous, which means tyres should be regularly inspected. The legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm, however most experts recommend replacing anything below 3mm. Also check that the air pressure is correct, and you have a spare tyre should the worst happen.
With those dark nights creeping in, you’ll be using your headlights more often. Have someone stand outside your vehicle while you try all of the lights to ensure no bulbs need replacing. You should also give your lights a quick clean regularly to remove dirt and excess water.
Top Tip – keep a pair of sunglasses in your glove compartment. Summer may be over, but that low evening sun can be impossible to drive in without your sunglasses.