Weatherproofing your car does not have to be expensive or time consuming. This article details which weather conditions are damaging and discusses quick and low cost measures to reduce risks to your vehicle.
Why weatherproof your car
Cars do not need a great deal of attention most of the time. However, there are times when it is essential to make a few adjustments or spend a little longer on them than you normally would to ensure safety and legality of your car.
Such times may occur throughout the year, as and when your vehicle may be exposed to certain elements, but winter is often the time of year when it is essential to carry out a few more checks and take a few preventative measures to weatherproof your vehicle.
These chips can occur year round but are especially prolific during the winter months. This is due to ice breaking pieces of the road up, creating more stones on its surface, which in turn are kicked up by other cars. Chips to be sorted out as soon as you spot them otherwise the first hard frost after may crack your windscreen. This happens when moisture gets into the chip and as the temperature drops, the moisture turns to ice, and expands, cracking the windscreen.
Autoglass in the UK usually repair chips at no cost, they do this by organising the work through your insurance company. It is therefore essential that your policy is fully comprehensive and that you have this provision on it.
Rust is a major issue with cars. In the winter especially, salt is abound. The roads are treated with a mixture of salt and other components at this time of year, to help prevent ice forming on their surfaces. Salt can be a problem year round, if you live or drive near the sea but there is a lot more around in winter time. Salt can eat through the paint work very quickly and corrode the metal underneath.
In order to protect your car from the risk of rusting, you should wash it fairly regularly and polish with wax. This will act as an extra layer for the salt to breach.
Any exposed, untreated metal is at risk of rusting when both oxygen and moisture are present. Help lower the risk by keeping your car undercover during wet weather.
During the summer months our cars can sit out in the sun all day. If you wish to prevent paint fading, either invest in a car cover or park in a shaded garage or car park. At home, if you do not have a garage, try investing in a carport, a low cost alternative which can protect your car from sun, wind and rain.
During the winter it is advisable to fill up on windscreen wash, as most washes can be used up to -15C to -20C. What this means it that your washers are less likely to freeze, which could prove costly if you are then required to have the pump replaced, also the water won’t turn to ice when you do use your washers.
During the summer, there are a great number of bugs and dust that can land on your screen. Having a good screen wash will help ensure maximum visibility.
It is worth buying a spare set of windscreen wiper blades, as the cold weather can make the rubber brittle, causing the wipers to work poorly, reducing visibility.
It is important to check that your tyre pressure is correct and that your tread is of a legal depth:
• Reduced tread = reduced grip, which can be even more dangerous in autumn when there are wet leaves on the road and in winter in snow and ice conditions.
• Reduced pressure = more fuel consumption.
• Traffic Police sporadically check automobiles and these do include looking over tyres, at tread depth.
The required tyre pressure varies from vehicle to vehicle. Please check your car user manual for the correct figures.
In the UK, the legal tread depth limits can be found in the Highway Code, and on the DSA.gov website.
It is vital to make sure you have antifreeze product in your engine water, to prevent it from freezing and breaking your radiator, which is a very costly repair.
Most antifreeze products serve the additional purpose of being a summer coolant, so as well as preventing your engine from freezing in the winter, it also prevents it from overheating in the summer.
Most people tend to associate mainly winter time with car damage caused by the weather; however conditions may arise at any time of the year which could leave you having to pay for expensive repairs. Weatherproofing your car is a low cost and potentially time saving precaution which all motorists should seriously consider.
Source: dft.gov.uk website (Government Department for Transport, UK)