Autumn isn’t all about falling leaves and country lanes filled with blackberries– it also a time for road users to be aware of changing conditions, from dazzlingly blinding sunlight to the first icy windscreen of the season.
Autumn is particularly bad for low sun. Improve your vision by making sure that the windscreen is clean – inside and out.
Even non-smokers find a hazy film builds up on the inside surface of the windscreen over time. Scratches, abrasions and chips on the outside can intensify the sun’s dazzle too.
New blades clear the screen more effectively and so help reduce dazzle from the sun…have you changed your blades in the last 3 years? Most people don’t think about changing them until the rubber breaks. Now is a good time to renew worn blades.
Windscreen washer fluid
Top up your water bottle with water and a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing. Don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest screen wash out there…you do get what you pay for, and a clean screen makes for better viewing! .
This is one of the most common causes of breakdown at any time of year, but particularly in the winter when electrical loads are higher. If there’s any sign of the battery struggling now, think about changing it before the mornings get colder and the nights get shorter. There’s nothing more inconvenient than a car that won’t start when you need to be somewhere.
Check all bulbs regularly including brake lights and number plate lights. The handbook will show you how to change bulbs, though some headlight bulbs may require a visit to the garage. Carry some spare bulbs. If this is past your regular mechanic abilities…a nearby Halfords store have a “fit it for you” service.
Check all tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. We recommend at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring, so if the treads are getting low think about buying new tyres now before the colder weather sets in.
Not just for winter, antifreeze is important all year round as it contains additives to prevent corrosion and improve summer cooling too. It should be checked as part of the regular service schedule.
A frozen engine is very expensive to repair so if there’s any doubt now is a good time to check the concentration. The handbook will give details of the correct antifreeze to use for your car — there are different types and mixing them could cause engine damage. If in doubt get a garage to do a winter check for you. Many do it for free at this time of year.
Above all, take care, drive carefully and be respectful of other road users.