Top tips to keep your car in shape for autumn

MAINTAINING your car to face up to the wind, rain and cold could save you time, money and hassle.

1. Give your car a good ‘spring’ clean – even if it is autumn. Pay particular attention to the tray area under the bonnet, below the windscreen (called the plenum chamber), where leaves and water can gather, blocking it up. The water can then damage the car’s electrics after seeping through – which can be expensive to fix.

2. Windows are another important area that you need to focus on. Before you start driving, you must ensure that they’re all clear, so get rid of all the condensation, plus the dirty film that can build up on the inside of glazed surfaces.

3. On the outside, check the wiper blades, as this is the start of a six-month period that they’ll be used most. Wipe them with a soft cloth to keep them clean or, if necessary, replace them.

4. Remember to also keep your washer fluid reservoir topped up.

5. Before you switch off the engine, switch your windscreen wipers off first. Because if an overnight frost sticks them to the windscreen, you could blow a fuse.

6. And clean your lights: the newer LEDs, in particular, don’t generate enough heat to evaporate any water on the covers.

7. Antifreeze levels are important at this time of year, so get them checked at your local garage or service centre. Check your handbook for the correct type, too: you must not mix different-coloured versions.

8. Your car’s battery is worth checking, too: ensure the top is clean and dry, the terminals are tightly connected and there’s no sign of corrosion. If it’s more than five years old, you might want to consider changing it, especially if it’s beginning to struggle.

9. With the wet and frosty roads you’re likely to encounter over the next few months, you need to make sure that your tyres are in tip-top condition, too. The tread depth should be no less than 1.6mm all over, but if they’re less than 3mm, you might want to think about new tyres, to improve traction.
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