As the nights grow longer and we spend more time driving in dingy, dark, wet conditions, it’s important to do some basic checks on your vehicles.  It’s better to spend a few minutes checking now, than discovering them driving down the motorway!

So, let’s start with wipers…..We’ve enjoyed a long, dry summer this year, so they’ve been mostly sat in the same place for months.  Sap from the trees, road dirt, bugs all make them stick to the screen.  If you’re not one to regularly clean your car, then chances are the rubber has been damaged when you’ve now had to turn them on.  We see a lot of MOT failures at this time of year on wipers.  We don’t charge labour to replace them, only for the blades themselves, so it’s not an expensive repair, but it all adds up.  Maybe splosh some water on your screen and carefully lift them off, then use a cloth to gently wipe the rubber part, so you clear any debris build up.  If you park near trees then try and clear any needles/leaves from the blade, as they get caught under them which makes visibility more difficult when driving in rain and also damages them.

Wind screen washers.  Quickly try your screen washers to make sure they’re working as they’ve probably not been used much for months.  Nothing worse than a greasy screen or a bug splat whilst driving that you then smear all over the screen and can’t clear because no water is coming out.  Sometimes the jets or the filter in the pump get blocked, or maybe just the bottle itself is old and starting to deteriorate, all of which we can fix, but much better to find out before you set off.

Tyres.  I know we always say tyres, but they are so important.  The roads have been dry, now they’re wet.  This time of year, they are more slippery because of the build up of debris on them over the warmer months, which hasn’t been washed away.  Checking tyres is a very good habit to get in to and one of the easiest.  Take a look to see if there are any bulges, or rips in the tyre – no one wants a blow out at any speed.  Clipping kerbs, potholes, litter on the roads all damage tyres.  This time of year we see more tyre problems as puddles mean you can’t see the potholes.  Sometimes we can do a puncture repair, other times we have to replace the tyre. Use the 20p coin trick to check for tread depth – if you can see the rim of it when its in the groove, your tyres are too low.  Tyre pressure is important too, not only for grip, but for fuel efficiency.  If you’re not confident to check and adjust the pressures yourself, pop by either of our sites and we’ll do it for you for nothing.

Lights.  Not all vehicles tell you when a light is out.  If yours doesn’t, then regularly check them – you want/need to be seen.  If you need help changing a bulb, then pop in, as they’re not all straightforward.  It’s also a good idea to regularly wipe over the light lens (especially the front) to make sure they’re not dimmed because of dirt.

Lastly, we always see an increase in repair work at this time of year.  People are starting to think about paying for Christmas, so put off getting their vehicles serviced and maybe ignore the clunk they heard when they went over that speed bump.  It’s like anything, a problem ignored always gets worse.  If you’re not sure about anything ‘car’, then ask.  We will always tell you the cost before we do anything.