Let’s be honest, it’s going to be a bit of an odd spring for us this year - not just for us here in the UK, but all over the world. With a nationwide lockdown in place, nobody’s really driving anywhere, which means that a lot of cars are remaining stationary for now. But while some people are enjoying a bit of a break from driving, don’t forget that before you get back the driver’s seat again (whenever that may be), there are a couple of useful checks that it’s good to do on your car first!
As we move slowly but surely into warmer weather, there’s no worse time to realise you’ve got problems with your air conditioning than a hot spring or summer day. As with many of your car components, long periods of inactivity can lead to problems arising with your air conditioning - in this case, such as leaks or mould. Trust us, it’s worth checking before you pull out onto the road!
You don’t need us to tell you just how hugely important your tyres are. Even the most minor fault can be a real safety issue, as the implications can be anything from skewed steering to the danger of an actual blowout when you’re out on the motorway. That’s just one reason why just a small fault with your tyres can cause your car to become unroadworthy, even if the rest of it is in perfect working condition. So take care to check they’re at a road-legal depth before you start the engine (and make sure to do it at multiple points around the tyre.
Brakes and chassis
These are just as important as the tyres, and for excellent reason! Over the winter months, your brakes can be vulnerable to impurities from gritted roads. This aggressive road salt can wreak havoc on the effectiveness of your brakes, and your chassis is vulnerable too. Ideally, this is something you’ll need to have checked by a professional mechanic - so if that’s you crack on. If it’s not, you may need to wait until you can get it booked in for its next service.
Brake lights and headlights
Speaking of brakes, you’ll also need to make sure that everyone can see when you’re using them, so your brake lights are ones to check too. While you’re at it, it’s also worth giving a quick inspection to your headlights and fog lights. If you’re driving after dark, there’s nothing worse than suddenly realising that your headlights don’t work!
If you’re a layman, you can easily give them a quick check to make sure they function properly, but you’ll need the knowledge and equipment of a professional mechanic to make sure that they’re casting light in the right direction, and over the right distance. Also, a professional mechanic will be able to tell whether the lights are at risk of dazzling other drivers, which can be just as dangerous as if they didn’t work at all.
Wipers and washers
This is another safety related issue, as it affects your visibility as a driver. It can be easy to underestimate how much stress that windscreen wipers can put on your car over the winter months. Rapidly changing temperatures can cause cracks in the rubber of the wiper blades, and wiping a frozen windscreen doesn’t do them a tonne of favours either. Combine these two factors, and you could find that the durability of your wipers is significantly affected. The onset of spring is a good point to give them a once-over, and ensure that they’re up to scratch!
If you’ve ever had firsthand experience of your car battery failing, you’ll know that it can be an absolute nightmare to have to deal with - especially as it normally involves having your car towed. It’s therefore a good idea to have your car battery checked as part of a regular service (although unless you’re a professional mechanic yourself, getting a service booked in during the current lockdown might be a bit tricky). We should say though: although it’s a good check to make, don’t worry too much if you can’t get to it immediately. Most modern batteries should go for about five to six years, but it depends on how intensively the car is used and driven.
Last but by no means least, it’s smart to ensure that all your fluids are regularly topped up. Your car will generally give you a warning when you’re running low on a particular fluid via dashboard warning lights or similar measures, but don’t leave everything up to them! Make sure you’re proactively checking it yourself, so you can be well ahead of the curve and avoid any unnecessary strain on your car.
And if you need any spare parts - or even a whole new car - that’s exactly what we can help with here at RAW2K. We’re the nation’s number one home of online salvage car auctions, with makes and models from leading manufacturers including Volkswagen, Peugeot and Nissan - just to name a few! Why not take a look around our site, and see what you can find?