Winter is coming. In order to avoid hefty fines this Christmas, here’s how to give your car a proper once-over.
The last thing anybody needs around the holidays is getting hit with a fine from the police. We’ve all got people to see, gifts to buy; it’s a stressful time, to the point it can feel like everything is getting on top of you, and you may forget certain things, like general maintenance on your car.
But you shouldn’t. Beyond all else, it’s also a really hazardous time to be out driving, whether it’s blowing a gale, torrential rain, hailstones and snow or black ice on the roads. In order to keep you, your bank account and others safe, here’s some things you should tick off this winter.
Firstly, keep those tyres checked. Remember, you need to have 1.6mm deep treads across them. If they wear down and they happened to be checked by an officer, you could be fined up to £2,500 per tyre, not to mention three penalty points – so, if they were all worn down, you could face a £10,000 fine and 12 points. You’d almost definitely lose your licence.
If you felt like splashing the cash, you could even buy some winter tyres with improved grip. These are common in colder parts of Europe and the US.
Secondly, keep your screen wash topped up. Anyone’s who driven along the bypass on a winter morning after the gritters have been out will know the feeling of the brown mist covering your windscreen. So, don’t forget to refill it, and maybe invest in some winter screen wash with de-icer mix in it for the frosty mornings.
You need to keep all your windows clean where possible, especially when you need to contend with the winter sun blinding you every morning. Get yourself some proper microfibre towels, and use one to clean and the other to dry, and always stick to soapy water or a decent window cleaner – don’t just spray any old stuff on there.
If your windows are too dirty, you could face a £100 fine and three penalty points with the further possibility of £5,000 and nine points.
Fourthly, you’ve got to check your oil. Most people are a bit crap at checking their oil – but take it from me, an unqualified expert, you need to.
Fifthly, keep an eye on your battery, as the winter months put more strain on them. You don’t want to end up sitting in a car park with nobody in sight to help you with jump leads just because you kept your heating on for five minutes while you ate a McFlurry.
Lastly, make sure your windscreen wipers are functioning properly. Not only would it turn a rainy day into a nightmare, but you could face a £100 roadside fine and even more if it went to court. By the way, you can get new wiper blades for around £10, so just go out and do it before you end up moaning about a fine you could have prevented.