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Get your car in shape for better weather

Now that the winter is finally over, it’s time to get your car in shape for the warmer months by following the advice of the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ RoadSmart division.

  • Lose the weight.Remove the coats, boots, scarves, bags, etc, that you keep in your car in the winter. They don’t just take up space, they add weight to your car as well – and that means using more fuel.
  • Cut down on salt.Modern cars don’t tend to get rusty, but salt from the roads that get gritted can build up under the wheel arches and the suspension and cause corrosion. Flush your wheel arches clean with a pressure washer if you have one, or a hose pipe.Alternatively, try washing the arches after driving on wet roads when the mud and grit will have softened. You’ll lessen the risk of expensive repairs.
  • Check your vision.Demisters put a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen which can turn sunshine into a blinding glare. Clean your screen and windows with water and detergent and dry them with a microfibre cloth for crystal clear vision.Clean screens rarely mist up so you won’t need to use the heated rear window so much.It’s another good way to save fuel.
  • Keep hay fever at bay.The pollen filters in modern cars need to be changed from time to time to keep working at their best. Your vehicle’s handbook will tell you how to get to the filter.If it looks bad, change it now.
  • Don’t get hot and bothered . Air-conditioning is great when the temperature increases, 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.”