With weather warnings in place for the weekend autumn is here – and winter is on the way – meaning driving becomes more hazardous.
But experts say you can keep your car safer by checking six key areas before you head out.
The basic checks are vital as we head into the darker months, with plenty of wind, rain and snow on the way.
LeaseElectricCar.co.uk are urging drivers to carry out regular safety checks to avoid danger on the roads this autumn and winter.
A spokesperson said: “Winter weather can be extremely treacherous especially if your vehicle isn’t designed to deal with certain conditions.
“It can be daunting to carry out vehicle safety checks without the help of a mechanic, but anyone can do them. They’re simple and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
“Just by making a few simple checks you can help to keep yourself and others safe on the road.”
Snow, sleet, rain and frost can all have a profound impact on the terrain and ensuring your tyres have the appropriate tread can help to give you a better grip on the road.
An easy and effective way to check your tyre tread depth is to place a 20p coin into one of the primary grooves of the tyre. If you can see the outer ring of the coin when inserted it is likely your tyre is worn and unsafe.
You shouldn’t be able to see the outer ring of the coin and the tread should be a bare minimum of 1.6mm.
Winter weather can be unpredictable and having full visibility can prevent any potential dangers on the road. You can easily check for wear and tear on your wiper blades by seeing if they are dry, cracked or misshapen.
If they are then it is advisable to replace them. Ensuring you have enough windscreen fluid can also be done by lifting up the bonnet and seeking a plastic tube with a windscreen symbol on it.
Not only is it important to have fully functioning wiper blades for optimal visibility, but also to ensure your windscreen is free from chips.
Frost can seep into a small crack and start to spread across the windscreen, the constant expansion and contraction of the glass in cold weather can render your windscreen unsafe if it is already damaged. Get any damages checked by a professional in the first instance.
Having the correct amount of oil in your car can help to prevent the engine seizing up particularly when it comes to winter time. Too much oil can actually be as detrimental to your vehicle’s health as much as too little.
To check your vehicle’s oil, switch the engine off, and locate the dipstick (usually a yellow hoop next to the engine). Pull the dipstick out and wipe away any excess oil.
Then place the dipstick back into the tube, pull it back out and if there is little to no oil on the stick make sure to top up with the appropriate oil type for your vehicle.
Usually your car’s warning system will signal if there is a fault with the engine cooling system, however spotting any problems early can help prevent any serious damage.
When water freezes it expands and this can lead to cracked and broken pipes, which can significantly affect the functioning of the engine.
To top up your car’s coolant, you can locate the tank by using the vehicle manual. It is crucial that when topping up your antifreeze that your engine has fully cooled down, otherwise you can cause serious injury through the release of pressurised water.
It’s also important to note that different types of antifreeze don’t always mix well, so when topping up the tank, try to use the same type where possible.
Battery failure is one of the most common reasons for car breakdowns especially in the winter time. Taking care of your car battery can help to prevent any problems and a routine check can be relatively easy to carry out.
Start with a visual inspection and ensure the clamp and terminals are all tight and secure. Cleaning your battery from dirt and debris can help extend its life and keep it in working order.
Finally, check the battery’s fluid level, if the battery plates are exposed then top up with distilled water until they are covered again.
As the days get shorter, making sure your vehicle’s lights are functioning properly is not only essential but a legal requirement.
To test your car’s headlights, turn them on and walk to the front of your vehicle to make sure they’re working and appear bright. In order to check the rear lights, have someone else stand at the back of the vehicle whilst it’s stationary.
Go through and check both your reversing lights and brake lights. Again, both sides should be fully functioning and bright.
If not, ensure to get them changed before you head back out on the road.