It’s time to get your freshened up and blow off the winter cobwebs in preparation for the spring.
Follow these tips the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ RoadSmart division and get your car ready for the warmer weather.
• Lose weight. Clear out those coats, boots, scarves and bags that took up permanent residence during the winter. They add weight as well as taking up space, and surplus weight means wasted fuel.
• Cut down on salt. Modern cars are much less prone to rust, but corrosion-causing salt from gritted roads can build up under the wheel arches and the suspension. Use a hose pipe to flush the wheel arches clean. If you have a pressure washer, even better; if not, try washing the arches after driving on wet roads – the mud and grit will have softened. Neighbours might think you’re peculiar, but you’ll reduce the risk of expensive repairs.
• Test your vision. Demisters put a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen which can turn bright sunshine into a blinding glare. Get the screen squeaky clean with water and detergent, dry with a microfibre cloth, and crystal clear vision will be restored – and don’t forget the other windows. Clean screens rarely mist up so you’ll need the heated rear window far less. Another fuel saver!
• Keep hay fever at bay. Most cars have pollen filters, but they need changing periodically to remain efficient. Look in your handbook to find out how to get to the filter and, if it looks bad, change it now.
• Don’t get hot and bothered. Air-conditioning is a boon as the temperature rises, but it contains a special gas which can slowly leak away. If it gets too low, the air-con will blow warm instead of cold. Test it by turning the heater control to minimum, the heater fan to maximum, and make sure the air-con is turned on (ie, not in ‘eco’ mode). If you don’t feel an icy blast after a couple of minutes, the system may need re-gassing. It’s a simple job for your dealership to do.
“In conjunction with other spring cleaning treat your car, the efforts to wash and polish it will last a bit longer now the winter salt has gone,” IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driving & Riding standards Richard Gladman said. “Now is a good time to spend a therapeutic Sunday morning tinkering.”