Here and Now with John Bowe
While road safety should be an important consideration all year long, winter for motorists can lead to more challenging driving conditions. Heavy rain, strong winds, poor lighting, snow, sleet, ice and fog are all hazardous factors, which when combined with a poorly maintained motor vehicle, can dramatically increase the risks on the road. There are some simple maintenance jobs though that can help to reduce this impact.
For me, tyres are at the top of any car safety check list, as they are the only thing between your vehicle and the road. I have the ultimate in performance tyres on my car in the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2s, but that doesn’t mean I should neglect the basic safety checks. Here are a few things we should all be doing to ensure our car is ready for the colder months:
- Tyres – Wet and icy roads can result in longer stopping distances due to reduced grip. A tyre with insufficient tread can’t disperse water quickly enough and can sit on top of the water surface, resulting in reduced traction and stopping ability – called ‘aquaplaning’. Incorrect inflation will also affect a tyre’s performance characteristics and grip levels.
- Oil and oil filter – Oil keeps your engine parts running clean and smooth. Dirty oil makes it harder for your engine to turn over especially in cold weather, which can lead to premature engine wear.
- Battery – More amps are required to start a cold engine, meaning a weak battery that worked during summer may no longer be adequate for winter.
- Headlights – Lenses should be kept clean and all lights should be operating and of an even brightness.
- Belts and hoses – Temperature changes can put pressure on already worn belts and hoses which can cause them to function much less efficiently.
- Wipers – Make sure your wipers are in good working order. Washer levels should also be filled with fluid that is appropriate for cold weather.
- Heater and defroster – Heaters and defrosters are required to be working properly not only for passenger comfort, but also visibility!
- Air filter – When air filters are clogged, your engine has to work harder. A clean air filter helps the engine run more smoothly and efficiently.
Until next time, drive safely.