The new year is a time for celebration and resolutions, but it’s also the time for harsh weather and poor driving conditions, which makes it one of the most dangerous times of the year for road users.
With that in mind, the new year is certainly not the time to be slacking on your car checks but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to call a mechanic. As we understand that car checks can seem overwhelming, we’ve listed three essential new years car checks which you can easily do yourself.
Replacing the windscreen wipers
As the new year begins, whether we like it or not, we have to embrace the bad weather. With rain, snow, and sleet, making sure your windscreen wipers are up to scratch couldn’t be more important when you have to brave the elements.
Luckily, changing your windscreen wiper blades is really simple and, although the process may differ slightly from car to car, the most common way to do it is as follows:
- Lift your wipers and remove the blades. On most cars, there will be a tab you can push on the underside of the wiper to remove the blade.
- Pay close attention to how they attach.
- Insert the new blades and put your wipers back down.
Keep in mind that you should be changing your windscreen wiper blades every 6 – 12 months. If you frequently have problems with your windscreen wiper blades, check out this article on fixing common windscreen wiper problems.
Check your tyres for wear and tear
Winter can fall hand in hand with treacherous driving conditions, so it’s essential that you check your tyres for wear and tear regularly, especially the tread depth. In the UK, the legal limit for the tread depth of tyres is 1.6mm of depth across the central three-quarters of the tread around the circumference of the tyre.
Volkswagen Motor Parts says: “Although it’s always best to use a tread depth indicator when you’re checking your tyres, a 20p coin can also suffice.”
“If you’re using a 20p coin, place it in the groove of your tyre. If you can see the outer edge of the bottom of the coin, your tyre needs replacing.”
Check that your lights are working
As we’ve still got a dark winter lying ahead, it’s more important than ever to ensure that all of your lights are working properly; your fog lights, reverse lights, cabin lights, headlights, full beam lights, indicators, side lights, and brake lights all need to be checked.
This check is easiest when it’s carried out with someone else, so getting another person involved is recommended. Individually turn on each light and get out of your car. Each time, check if the light is working – remember, you’ll need someone else to help you when you’re checking your brake lights!
If any of your lights are out or are showing signs of flickering, change the bulb or take your car to a garage as promptly as you can.