How to look after your car in autumn

Aerial view of road in autumn. Many trees and leaves.

A new season brings a host of new problems for car owners. As we battle the elements in autumn, bad credit card finance provider, Go Car Credit created a trusty list of top tips to keep your car running smoothly and save you money too!

How to prevent leaf damage

Although the change in leaves may make for a scenic drive, fallen leaves can cause havoc in a number of ways for your car if you don’t clear them soon enough.

Make sure you take the following steps to keep safe and avoid fines:

1: Remove wet leaves from your car

You may have heard of the perils of bird droppings on car paintwork, but wet leaves can cause acidic tree sap to bond to the car surface, damaging paint finish and causing window stains.

It’s possible to clear small spots that appear by gently rubbing distilled vinegar on the affected area.

However, if wet leaves are left for too long, paint correction is often the only way to repair the damage, and with paint correction starting at £400, it’s an extra cost that could easily be avoided. Continued exposure to wet leaves can even lead to rust.

2: Remove leaves from your windscreen

Driving with clear obstructions to a windscreen is breaking the law. Under Regulation 30 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, drivers are warned they must keep all glass clear of obstruction.

Make sure you take the time to clear leaves from your windscreen to make sure you drive safely and save a hefty £1000 fine too.

3: Open the bonnet regularly to clear leaves

Far from out of sight and out of mind, opening the bonnet regularly to clear leaves is incredibly important to keep you safe when you’re driving.

  • Leaves can frequently become trapped and lodged in many areas of your vehicle. If they clog and obstruct the radiator it can lead to overheating problems as the fans pull air and leaves through to the radiator.
  • Make sure you regularly check the lower grille and radiator too to remove any leaf debris. Failure to remove blocked leaves could result in your engine overheating or damage to your radiator which results in leaking. If debris is stuck behind the grille and out of reach, ensure you take it to a professional to be cleaned.
  • If you have a build-up of leaves then the heat of the engine dries the leaves which can act as kindling for electrical fires. Electrical fire damage can be extremely costly to fix too with repairs often over £1000.

Check the air filter

Another place leaves can become lodged is the air filter. Clogged filters can reduce air intake and cause poor engine performance when unburned fuel results in sooty residue accumulating on spark plugs.

When dirt enters the engine it can cause damage to a variety of other internal components, all of which can become costly. Air filters that are left dirty or clogged for too long will need replacing, which can cost from £100.

How to stop condensation on your windscreen

As the colder weather sets in, the familiar sight of condensation on our windscreen and windows appears. It can be tempting when you’re in a rush to set off before your windscreen has had a chance to fully demist. However, once again Regulation 30 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that windscreens must be clear from obstructions to vision. So, it’s worth noting then that failure to wait until your windscreen has fully demisted could land you with a £5000 fine.

Take the time to adjust your fans to focus on clearing the windscreen first or invest in a dehumidifying car bean bag that clears windows quickly.

Check your car bulbs

Misty weather, drizzle and darker nights means visibility on the road is impaired.

Make sure to check car bulbs are in working order before setting off for journeys. Not only is this important for your own safety but also for the safety of other drivers on the road.

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