Looking after your car this autumn
As autumn sets in, colder days and darker nights will soon become the norm and it’s a good idea for drivers to start preparing their vehicles for the colder months ahead. Driving on darker, wetter & colder roads can be more hazardous and it’s wise to get into the habit of checking your vehicle more regularly. Checking tyres, lights & windscreen wipers are in good condition will go a long way in ensuring you stay safe on the road.
Tyre safety checks
As the only part of your vehicle that comes into contact with the road surface, tyre condition is vital when it comes to road safety. Autumn usually brings with it wetter weather and colder temperatures, both of which can cause roads to be more slippery.
Having adequate tread is vital throughout the year, but arguably even more so during the autumn & winter months. The legal minimum tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm, but tyre safety experts recommend at least 3mm of tread for optimum safety. This is because the tread of your tyres is designed to channel away water from the road surface; if you’re low on tread your tyres cannot do this quickly enough and you’re at risk of losing grip, skidding and possibly even aquaplaning.
Incorrect tyre pressures also affect the way your car handles the road conditions, in fact it is reported that 6% of fatal accidents on UK roads are caused by the sudden failure of under-inflated tyres. Ensure your tyre pressure is as it should be before you take any journeys, especially when conditions may not be at their best.
Checking headlights & bulbs
As the autumn months mark the start of darker days and nights, ensuring all your vehicle light are working is essential. Car lights not only ensure other road users are able to see you, they also allow you to have a clear view on dark roads so you can avoid any hazards and spot potential dangers.
Getting into the routine of checking your lights every week is a great way to ensure you aren’t caught off guard whilst our driving, and we’d advise you carry some spare bulbs in the boot of your car just in case! Why not take the time to learn how to change the bulbs yourself? Many are quick and easy to change although some vehicles have bulbs that are more challenging to access.
The more you use your headlights during the darker autumn months, the quicker they are likely to stop working! If your car is booked in for an MOT it’s a good idea to make sure your headlights and bulbs are all working- your vehicle will fail the MOT if they don’t work so it’s a good thing to check beforehand if you want to avoid any delays.
If you’re not confident or are unable to change the bulb yourself, your local Eden Tyres branch will be happy to help get them changed quickly for you.
Understandably, brake safety is important throughout the year but booking a brake safety check is a good idea, particularly if you’ve not used your vehicle as frequently during the summer holidays.
Unless you’re confident carrying out basic vehicle repairs, brake replacement is best left to a professional. Most modern vehicles have sensors that alert you when your brake pads are getting close to replacement.
If you’re not sure when your brakes were last checked or you feel something is amiss, please call into your local Eden Tyres for a free brake check. We will be able to inspect the brake discs & pads to ensure they are safe. When it comes to brakes, often an early inspection can avoid the problem getting much worse and leading to more costly repairs.
If you need to get new brake parts fitted, it’s vital to ensure you drive gently and carefully until your new parts have ‘bedded in’. This usually takes approximately 200 miles. Excessively braking on new parts can also damage them, leading to loss of braking efficiency and performance – not good for the colder months when braking distances are longer!
Ensuring your vehicle is in great condition is the very best way of keeping you & other road users safe throughout the year. Having regular vehicle servicing, an annual MOT test and taking advantage of free safety checks is the easiest way to help you stay safe on the road. If you have any worries or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch.