Bad news everyone. Summer is officially over. Now, the leaves are turning brown, evenings are drawing in, and it’s time to dig out the warm jumpers and thick raincoats needed for the months ahead.
Gone are the days of bikinis and beach trips. Now its walks in the forest and warm cups of cocoa. The sudden change of seasons, because it always does feel sudden, can catch you off guard.
The same can be said for your car and how you drive. You have to think less about those hot summer road trips, and more about the potentially torrential weather conditions that might hit you. Thankfully, we’re here to give you some top tips on how to make autumn driving as smooth as possible.
Yes, we know the saying is ‘spring clean’, but that’s not really that suitable for your car. In fact, having a seasonal clear out and clean of your vehicle is a good way to ensure it works well across the year.
Summer is the season of pollen and bugs, so the chances are your air filters have become clogged with all sorts of debris. The lower temperatures of Autumn mean you are more likely to have your car’s heater working full blast.
The last thing you want to do is to be blasting pollen around your car, especially if you have hay fever. The more items in your car’s filters, the less efficient they will be.
So, give them a good clear out to ensure they work at maximum efficiency.
You should also check the oil and water levels. The hot summer months will have had their effect on these engine coolants, so now is a good time to top up. You might also want to add a bit of anti-freeze to the water levels.
While it may not get that cold now, if you’ve had to add water to your car over the summer, you will have diluted the anti-freeze. So now’s a good chance to top up the levels before the winter comes.
Autumn in the UK normally brings one thing – rain, and lots of it. While it’s not quite monsoon season, the amount of rain that hits the UK seems to grow each year. And when it does come, it seems our sewer and drainage systems can often struggle to cope with the deluge.
Add to that the number of leaves falling from the trees, and you can have plenty of slippery hazards waiting for you just around the corner.
So if you’re planning a big car journey, take a look at the weather forecast. If bad weather is predicted, give yourself more time or, if possible, delay your journey. Just because you are driving carefully in the rain, doesn’t mean everyone else will. And rushing in the bad weather can be a disaster waiting to happen.
Pay extra attention to the weather if you are driving through a forest or wooded area. The leaves on the road can be hazardous when braking.
You should ensure your tyres are up to scratch all year round, but extra checks should be carried out when the wet season rolls in.
Go around your car and have a look at the tyre pressure and tread depth. Minimum tread depth is 1.6mm around the entire tyre, so have a look at the inside too for bald patches. The less tread, the less grip. Less grip means you don’t brake as efficiently.
You can find out the recommended tyre pressure by examining the inside of the car doors and finding the instruction plate. It will tell you the recommended pressure for different types of tyre, as well as the load you are carrying. Then, find yourself a garage with an automatic pressure gauge that can inflate your tyres to the exact pressure. If, after you’ve added air, you notice the tyres are going down, it might be time for a change.
Some mechanics will offer a free tyre tread and air pressure check. Make sure you choose one with a good reputation that won’t try and pressure you into buying services you don’t need.
Rain means your windscreen wiper blades will be needed more often than not. But if the blade is deteriorated or damaged in any way, then they won’t be doing what you need them to. This might be fine in light rain, but when it really pours, you could find yourself practically driving blind.
New windscreen wiper blades aren’t that expensive, and if you go to some driving supply stores, they will even swap over the new ones for you. But it’s not too difficult to do it yourself, so if you want to find a good deal online, then there should be nothing stopping you.
If you’re out on a day trip or just using your car on a day to day basis, then the chances are you might get caught out by the rain. Therefore it’s a good idea to have your car stocked with some supplies in case you need to dry off in a hurry. A pair of warm socks and some dry shoes can make driving much more comfortable. And you really shouldn’t be driving in welly boots, so having some proper footwear is a good idea.
You may also want to pack some warm blankets, especially if you have little ones. Not every car’s heater will kick in straight away, and sometimes it can be uncomfortable to drive with it on full blast. Some nice warm blankets for your passengers can help to keep everyone cosy, and allow you to keep control of the cabin conditions.
We all know if our cars are fit for autumnal conditions. But you might be dreaming of some climate control capability, or heated seats to keep you nice and warm. Now is a great time to upgrade before the winter, especially before Christmas rolls around.
Why not spread the cost of your new car into manageable monthly payments by applying for car finance online with Creditplus? Simply apply online, and one of our dedicated customer advisors will soon be helping you get behind the wheel of a fantastic new car.