Five tips for smooth drive into spring

Accrington Observer - - DRIVING TIPS -

THE clocks have gone for­ward and days are longer than nights for the next six months; it’s time to get your car ready for the spring. This week’s tips give ad­vice on get­ting your car ready for the warmer weather, from IAM Road­S­mart’s head of driv­ing and rid­ing stan­dards, Richard Glad­man.

Lose weight: Clear out those coats, boots, scarves and bags that took up per­ma­nent res­i­dence dur­ing the win­ter months. They add weight as well as tak­ing up space, and sur­plus weight means wasted fuel.

Cut down on the salt: Mod­ern cars are much less prone to rust than their fore­bears, but cor­ro­sion­caus­ing 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. The neigh­bours might think you’re pe­cu­liar but you’ll re­duce the risk of ex­pen­sive re­pairs.

Test your vi­sion: The demis­ter puts a film of grime from traf­fic fumes on the in­side of the wind­screen which can spread 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. 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. Some very good af­ter-mar­ket fil­ters are avail­able on­line, of­ten with a char­coal layer to fil­ter out pol­lu­tants as well as pollen.

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 (i.e., not in ‘eco’ mode). If you don’t feel an icy blast af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes, the sys­tem may need ‘re-gassing’; a sim­ple job which most garages have the equip­ment to do.

Richard said: “Treat your car to a spring clean. The ef­forts to wash and pol­ish it will last a bit longer now the win­ter salt has gone. Now is a good time to spend a ther­a­peu­tic Sun­day morn­ing tin­ker­ing.”

Treat your car to a spring clean this week­end

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