Spring is here

It is now the end of March and spring is here and that means warmer days and longer evenings.

It can also mean more chances of accidents etc, so ensure your car or van is prepped with these top tips.

1. Beware the glare

The spring months bring glimmers of good weather but they can also involve lots of rain.

A wet road and a sun that sits low in the sky cause distracting glare. Avoid unnecessary distractions and pop a pair of sunglasses in the glovebox.

Also keep the windscreen clean both inside and out, and get rid of smears with a good glass cleaning product, and always have your screen wash topped up so you can clear the screen easily.

2. Check tyre pressure, tread depth and condition

Regularly checking the health of tyres is an important part of car maintenance and it’s vital all year round to reduce the risk of accidents, but extended use over the winter period could have reduced pressure and damaged the tyre.

“Run-ins with potholes and kerbs hidden by winter debris can cause damage to a tyre and reduce pressure.

“Drivers should also check the tread is above 1.6mm – the legal limit – as it determines how quickly a vehicle can brake, change direction and clear water from the road surface to avoid aquaplaning.

3. Make sure the air-conditioning and heating works

Spring temperatures can be changeable, so it’s good practice to make sure the heaters and air conditioning work, particularly when clearing a misty windscreen in the chilly mornings.

“Air con dries the air, clearing misted-up windscreens much faster than waiting for the heaters to warm up,” explains Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

4. Valet the car’s interior

Muddy boots, dirty jeans and soggy dogs can really mess up a car’s interior, so it’s worth giving the seats, carpets and boot a good deep clean in the spring months.

“Stubborn or trodden-in dirt can be a pain to remove and could even reduce the value of your car when it’s time to sell on, or when it goes back at the end of the agreement.

5. Check the undercarriage for salt corrosion 

The salt used on the roads during winter may be great for clearing snow and ice but it can also damage and corrode the metal undercarriage of your car. It’s worth having a look for any signs of rust or corrosion and cleaning the affected area if possible.

A pressure washer with a special angled lance is a great way of cleaning the wheel arches and under body of a car.

6. Be aware of other road users

Warmer days and longer evenings typically see a whole host of other road users heading out to make the most of the favourable conditions. Be extra vigilant and watch out for cyclists and motorcycle riders who are perhaps taking to the roads for the first time since winter.

Spring is usually the time that motorcyclists begin their season on two wheels, but the weather can sometimes make biking difficult.

Give them some extra space and keep your eye out for any potential dangers. 

7 Ensure lights are working correctly

Fog is a common sight in spring, especially during the cooler mornings when many embark on the busy daily commute, so it’s worth checking all of the vehicle’s lights are in working order.

It’s important to switch your lights on in poor visibility. Don’t rely on daytime running lights at the front, as you won’t be visible to anyone approaching from the rear.

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