Spring is in the air – get your car ‘beach body’ ready
According to IAM RoadSmart, now is a good time to spend a therapeutic Sunday morning tinkering.
1. Lose weight – clear out those coats, boots, scarves and bags that took up permanent residence during the winter. They add weight as well as taking up space, and surplus weight means wasted fuel.
2. Cut down on salt – modern cars are much less prone to rust than their forbears, but corrosion-causing salt from gritted roads can build up under the wheel arches and suspension. Use a hosepipe to flush the arches clean; if you have a pressure washer, even better. Alternatively, try washing the arches after driving on wet roads when the mud and grit will have softened. The neighbours might think you’re peculiar, but you’ll reduce the risk of expensive repairs!
3. Test your vision – your demister puts a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen, which can turn bright sunshine into a blinding glare. Get your screen squeaky clean with water and detergent, then dry it with a microfibre cloth and crystal clear vision will be restored. Don’t forget the other windows too. Clean screens rarely mist up so you’ll need the heated rear window far less – another fuel saver.
4. 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 aftermarket filters are available, often with a charcoal layer to filter out pollutants as well as pollen.
5. 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 and 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, a simple job which most garages have the equipment to do.
“In conjunction with other spring cleaning to 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.