Getting your car ready for the winter

With winter well on its way and temperatures dropping down to freezing, now is the time to start checking your car is ready for the months ahead. According to research by recovery firms, you’re twice as likely to break down in winter months, so if you don’t have breakdown cover, that’s the first thing to sort out.

There are some ways in which you can try and avoid breaking down to start with and also making sure your car is safe for driving in bad conditions. Ice is one of the main causes for accidents during the winter months and how your car copes with ice is often mostly down to your tyres. If your tyres have little tread left on them then you should replace them as soon as possible. If you have previously had cheap budget tyres on, then it is worth getting them checked out to see if they have a decent grip on them.  Simple jobs such as checking all your lights are in good working order and your fluid levels are topped up don’t take much time but could make a difference to your journey.

Swapping to winter tyres is a great idea but it is often expensive so you need to weigh up how often you will actually be driving in the bad conditions.

Breakdown cover explained

When looking to take out breakdown cover, it can be a little confusing as to which package you should choose. Almost all breakdown companies have a variety of packages that offer different levels of cover and if you are not careful, you can easily take out something that is pretty useless to you. First decide when and how you would like t be assisted should you breakdown. If you just want roadside assistance then you may be able to get away with the cheapest package on offer. If however you would need to be recovered home or to a garage of your choice, closer to your home, then you will often need to pay a little extra. If you would be really stuck without your car then you may even want to add home start, which will allow a breakdown expect to come to your home and investigate an issue would your car not start. Some breakdown companies also offer a hire car or overnight accommodation should you breakdown and your car cannot be fixed at the side of the road. If you have children this may be a good option for you as you do not want to be stranded in another part of the country in the middle of the night with no where to stay.

 

Should you buy a car with little or no MOT?

All cars over three years old need to have a valid Mot to be able to drive on the roads in normal circumstances (e.g. not driving to / from a test station). The MOT test itself usually costs between £35 and £55 pounds but if it fails, it could cost thousands to repair depending on what car it is and what it failed on.

Some people do try and sell cars with little or no MOT but this is usually for a reason. If they think the car may fail the MOT then they will often not want to put it in as the failure can be found on the internet by anyone with the reg number. If they are confident it will pass then they would probably put it in for the MOT as they are likely to make more than the cost of the test if they were selling the vehicle with 12 months MOT rather than none.

If when you go to look at a car you find it only has a month or so left on it then you could say that you will buy the car if they will put it through the MOT and it passes.

 

Keeping your levels topped up

When owning a car, there are many checks that you should be doing on a regular basis that unfortunately we often forget to do. Checking your brakes and tyres is something that can serious affect the driving and stopping of a car and should be high on your priority list of overall checks.

Fluid levels is another essential item to tick off, and not just your water washers. You should also check the coolant levels, oil levels and brake fluid / transmission fluid levels to ensure that your car has everything it needs to function properly.

When it comes to oil, you should have it changes at every major service as dirty oil is no good for the engine. If the oil in your car looks completely black and not slightly see through then it is most probably time for a change. If you take it to your local garage they will be able to check it for you.

 

Park carefully – scratching your alloys costs you.

Many people think that scratches to your alloys are an unavoidable consequence of day-to-day driving, but they are relatively easy to avoid and will cost you money. Though relatively cosmetic, they damage the resale value of your car because they signify that the car has been run up & knocked into kerbs – so the suspension could be worn, the tracking is likely to be out, and the tyres may well be either overly worn or damaged due to that. A dealer will take that into consideration when assessing your car, as will a leasing company.

That means that you’ll get offered much less for your car, or face a charge at the end of your agreement depending on how you’ve sourced your car. Repairs are expensive, so it’s best to try and avoid it in the first place – parking a little bit further away from the curb could save you a lot of money.