As the autumn starts to make itself known you can bet your bottom dollar all the major car servicing groups will be working on their winter adverts. These tend to be based on the premise everyone should have a pre winter service to avoid running the somewhat over egged gauntlet of the not quite freezing temperatures most of the UK see. However, the general idea is a valid one; what these adverts fail to highlight, however, is the more pressing need to keep your car well serviced all year round. It is not just the Winter that that poses a threat to the healthy running of a car, in fact, every season has it’s fair share of challenges and every car owner would do well to remember it.
Spring may be a time of new beginnings, and a time to look ahead to warmer and longer days but it is also a time of big temperature ranges and quite unpredictable road surface conditions. In all fairness a good winter service should still hold a car in good stead to deal with any final icy mornings but it is still well worth making sure things like antifreeze levels are as they should be. It is also little things like making sure screen washer is kept topped up and other critical things like wiper blades. You could find yourself blinded by the sun with a smeared windscreen and no way to clear it. Also, making sure the tyres are in good shape is also a critical point as mornings can start off very icy but soon change to wet and that can be challenging.
An interim service as Spring begins to..well, spring is a useful idea. This will make sure the winter didn’t throw up any problems and you can be sure the car is going to be ready for what ever Spring throws at it.
It may be a time of holiday and fun for people but the heat and long journeys are no picnic for a car. Of course, not all long journeys go well and many in the UK include a good spell in a traffic jam which is often where the problems occur. Getting a car through the summer is all about coolant levels and a healthy radiator. Getting that end of things checked out before embarking on any long runs is certainly sensible, overheating is no fun at all! But as well as keeping the engine cool don’t forget about the occupants; most garages will offer air conditioning checks and gassing so make sure that system is ready to do its job. Once again the condition of the tyres comes into play in the Great British Summer because although everyone hopes it will be dry they are also aware the UK gets some serious summer downpours. When huge amounts of water hit dusty dry roads that may not have had a wash for a while car create some very slippery surfaces so plenty of tread and good drainage is the order of the day!
Known for it’s ability to show many different faces Autumn is yet another season that throws its fair share of challenges at a car. The main factor with this season is water so once again, tyres need to be in good condition and getting them checked at a suitable garage is well worth while. However, it is not just water on the road, getting someone to check over the seals around any ageing sun roofs and windows it worthwhile to. The heat of the summer could well have warped some of the rubber causing it to split and come apart. It is this time of year that what appears to be a tiny issue could lead to water ingress and a rather smelly and damp car. This water then becomes ever more of a problem when Winter comes as it freezes inside. Flooding is becoming more and more of a fixture of Autumn in the UK too so after driving through huge amounts of water if you do have to, be aware of the brakes feeling different, if they do get to a garage right away. The same can be said for electrics, water in all its forms from surface and flood to heavy rain leaking in can play havoc with the electrical systems and these could become a safety issue. Autumn is a good time to think about a full service as it precedes winter but can be doubly useful in keeping the car safe during this very wet season.
Finally…the big one. As mentioned, the adverts and promotion around Winter servicing are not misplaced, it is a very important thing to do and the main reason is the low temperatures. OK so we don’t see weeks of minus 20 degrees like some Scandinavian countries but it only take one cold night to crack an engine block. Very low temperatures can freeze the water in the engine and without effective antifreeze this can cause some serious problems. It is also a time to consider winter tyres; these are no gimmick. Winter tyres will hugely improve traction moving away and stopping. It is all too easy to think four wheel drive is the answer, it is good but only for going forwards, when it comes to stopping on ice and snow it is the tyres that make the difference. Book that Winter service and make sure nothing is going to give up the ghost on a cold lonely night, nor are any liquids going to freeze that shouldn’t.
While it may not be necessary to actually book a service for every season finding a good local garage to ask for a quick check over or interim service is a good idea as well as one that can advise on tyres and even have a set of winter tyres stored for you ready for fitting. Finding these garages can be hard so use a reputable garage guide like the one the AA have launched – https://garageguide.theaa.com/ . A good garage will be happy to help and advise if you have any concerns about the condition of your vehicle so find a good one and keep your car prepared for all 4 seasons.