Check your tyres
We never get bored of telling drivers to check their tyres! That’s because they’re the only link your car has with the road.
First things first, make sure that they’ve got enough tread depth. The legal minimum is 1.6mm - but ideally they should be changed well before reaching this point. Check it by putting a 20p piece in the tread groove. If you can see the rim round the coin edge sticking out, your tread is worn beyond the legal minimum.
Then spend some time looking at your tyres. There shouldn’t be any cuts or bulges in them. If there are, the tyre will need changing. And if there are any nails or bits of glass visible in the treaded area, again, that tyre will need changing.
Finally, pump your tyres up. You’ll find the correct air pressures on the door pillar, fuel filler flap or in the user manual. Another benefit of having tyres at the right pressure is it’ll help to improve your fuel economy. And tyres in tip-top shape will make driving safer.
Wash the outside
Winter is a horrible time of year to be a car. For a start the roads are filthy. But all that gunk covering your car isn’t just unsightly, it’s also potentially corrosive. Salt is spread on our roads during winter to minimise the chance of ice. When that mixes with water it can attack metal, speeding up the rusting process.
When you clean your car, use a pressure washer if you can. With one of these you can give the wheel arches a good squirt. This will help to remove encrusted dirt and salt. It’s tricky to get under a car without putting it on a lift. But if you can, direct the sprayer at the underside too.
Apart from washing all the dirt off, one of the best things you can do for your car at this time of year is to wax it. This will create a protective barrier between your car’s paintwork and the dirt it will inevitably get covered with. And of course, all that elbow grease will help to burn off some of those extra mince pies you might have tucked away!
When you spend a lot of time in your car, it’s easy for it to become a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff. Kids too are notoriously good at spreading rubbish around. So why not spend a bit of time clearing it out?
It’s a chance to declutter too. General rubbish aside, there are bound to be random items that have put down roots in your boot. Whether it’s mouldy gym kit or those work files that you’ve been promising to go through, get rid!
Clearing out the clutter won’t just make you feel better when you get in your car. It removes distractions from the vehicle, and reduces the chance of something flying around dangerously if you're involved in a crash. It’ll also help you to save money. All that stuff means extra weight. The more weight you’re carrying, the harder your engine has to work to drive you around. And that means the more fuel it uses.
Check your fluids
Unless your car is electric, you should check the oil on a regular basis. Green Flag has created a handy blog to explain how here. You could also check your coolant level and how much brake fluid you have.
Last but not least ‑ and like brake fluid this applies to electric cars ‑ top up your windscreen washer fluid. At this time of year, it’s vital to keep the screen clean.
Finally, make a resolution…
How about resolving to give your car some TLC on a regular basis in 2022? It’ll make driving more enjoyable, safer and more reliable.