Eight springtime car health checks

From potholes and salt to ice and floodwater, it’s no wonder that winter weather conditions are tough on your car. Check out our maintenance tips to give your car a springtime health check. Some you can do yourself and for others you’ll need to ask a mechanic to take a look.

Check your oil

It’s quick and easy to check your oil level and, if required, top it up. Oil keeps your car’s engine lubricated but it does degrade over time.

A regular full oil change will make your car’s engine run smoother, greener and boost its longevity – check your car’s manual for the type if you’re going to do it yourself, and how often they recommend you get this done.

Fluids and wipers

Don’t forget to check windscreen fluid levels – there’s nothing worse than driving along when the sun’s low in the sky and with smears on your windscreen and you've run out of washer fluid.

Wipers are cheap and easy to replace and will ensure your view of the road ahead stays clear during the next downpour.

It is important that your brake and cooling system fluids are within the minimum and maximum levels – if you’re not sure, we suggest you check with a mechanic.

Winter grit

Salt, spread on the roads by gritters during the winter months, corrodes metalwork and damages the paintwork on your car.

We recommend giving your car a thorough wash including the underside and wheel arches, you can either do it yourself with a jet washer or take it to a car wash.

Vacuum and polish the interior

Spruce up your car by vacuuming the seats and carpets to get rid of the dirt and other debris. Don’t forget to clean the door pockets, glove box and rear view mirror which can also get grubby over time.

While cleaning the interior, you may spot a leak or damage you weren't aware of or come across other dangers lurking in your car.

Tyre pressure and condition

You should check your car's tyre pressures regularly, at least one a month and before a long journey. Not only does it affect your car’s handling on the road, it can also affect the general wear of the treads especially if they are under or over inflated.

The legal limit for tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the middle three-quarters of the groves. You can check the depth by inserting a 20p coin in the tread, if you can see the outer band on any of your tyres they may be unsafe and you should get them checked by a garage or tyre supplier.

Always bear in mind that tyre pressures vary depending on the outside temperature. You should also keep any eye out for any damage – you may need to replace a tyre to avoid the risk of a blow-out.

Switch on the air conditioning

If you haven’t used it over the winter months, now’s the time to turn it on. You may find it needs a service to replenish the coolant liquids.

Wheel alignments and suspension

It’s difficult to avoid potholes especially during the darker winter months. They can cause damage to your car’s wheel alignment and suspension.

It’s advisable to get any suspected damage or steering issues checked out by a mechanic; leaving it could be costly to fix later on.

Front and rear brakes

In bad weather conditions, we tend to drive slower and use our brakes more often as road visibility decreases. Read our tips on driving in stormy weather.

Ask a mechanic to check on the condition of your car’s discs and pads. They will advise if any parts need to be replaced immediately or in the coming months.

And that’s not all…

Always check your car’s manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for when parts need replacing or servicing, depending on the age of your car or mileage intervals.

A routine service schedule will help ensure your vehicle stays in tip top condition.

Plus, during routine checks, a mechanic may spot a problem that can be fixed before an issue becomes a bigger problem leading to a breakdown or a part breaking.

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