We have already seen one or two showers this month, but as September and October are known for rain, it is a good idea for us to be prepared.
It is important that we get our car ready for autumn and winter: checking certain elements of the vehicle so that they operate correctly can help us avoid scares and incidents.
What should you check in your car?
Since what most affects the behaviour of the car and the driver is visibility and grip, there are certain components that must be in good condition before the arrival of autumn and winter. For this reason, it is worth checking various elements of the vehicle.
Check the windows and that they are in optimum condition, and free from anything that obscures all-round visibility.
First of all, clean them. If the windscreen or the rear window are dirty, they favour fogging with the arrival of cold and rain. Therefore, the front window must be clean both outside and inside.
The outer area can be cleaned thanks to the wiper blades and windshield washer fluid, so it is advisable to have a refill ready to replace it if it is depleted.
If the front window is dirty inside, it can also prevent proper vision, especially at dusk or dawn due to how the light falls on the glass. To clean it, the ideal is to use a damp microfiber cloth or similar so as not to scratch it. And if it is not enough, you can choose to use a glass cleaner.
Windscreen wipers are essential in case of rain, as it evacuates the water on the car windows. Its maintenance is therefore essential to ensure the maximum possible visibility through both windows.
Again, it is vital that they are clean: if not, activating the wipers can leave traces on the glass. They will accumulate more dirt if you park on the street.
To remove this dirt again you can use a damp cloth or sponge. Avoid more aggressive elements: for example, a brush with metal bristles can damage them. Similarly, if it does not come out with water, you can use neutral soap or window cleaner.
Like the windows, these friction elements must be in good condition, because if their rubber is damaged, they will not evacuate the water correctly, leaving residues that impede vision or even cause glare.
A good indicator that we have to change the blades is when we see that the sweep leaves streaks or produces noise. The wear itself ends up damaging or hardening them, but it becomes more pronounced with changes in temperature. Therefore, they should be checked more frequently if the car sleeps on the street.
Replacing the blades is a simple task that we can do ourselves. Although you can also go to a workshop if you’re not confident.
If we choose to change them ourselves, we can find the part in hypermarkets or in quick repair shops, but we must make sure that it is compatible with our car. Be that as it may, it is always advisable not to skimp on the price: the higher their quality, the longer they will last and the better they will clean.
If rains are common in our area, the windshield wipers can be reinforced by applying a water-repellent treatment to the glass. Thus, there are sprays and liquids for this purpose, which are applied to the windscreen. You can also opt for a windshield washer fluid that includes it.
Although the correct maintenance of the car’s wheels is vital throughout the year, when the rain enters the equation, the condition of the tyres is even more important.
In the wet it is essential that the tread grooves are deep enough to effectively dislodge water and compromise grip as little as possible.
If this is not the case, there is a risk of suffering from the dreaded aquaplaning: an effect that causes the tyre to stop being in contact with the asphalt as a film of water forms between the wheel and the surface.
The regulations require that the depth of the grooves be at least 1.6 mm. It can be checked with gauges, but we can also use a one-euro coin: if it is inserted into the groove and the gold frame in the lower area is covered, the tyre can still be used.
Tyre wear is essentially caused by use, which reduces the tread and therefore the depth of the grooves. Therefore, the DGT recommends replacing these elements after about 40,000 km.
However, the health of the tyre is important in general: we must ensure that it does not have bumps or irregular wear (for example, if they are more worn on the sides, it may be due to incorrect alignment).
Pressure matters too. Another aspect that affects more pronounced or uneven wear is driving without having the correct pressure in the wheels. In addition, driving with inadequate pressure increases the risk of a blowout and can lead to incorrect water drainage.
The most modern cars have sensors that indicate the loss of pressure below the established values, which are usually indicated in the car manual, on the side of the door or on the fuel tank cap.
However, whether you have this device or not, it is recommended to check the optimum tyre pressure if you are going to make a long trip (as it varies depending on the load).
We can inflate the tyres at most petrol stations, but we can also use a portable inflator: there are various types and prices, some have a built-in battery while others are plugged into the car’s 12V socket or a conventional outlet.
These devices are a good option, since the pressures must always be checked with the tyre as cold as possible, since if they are hot the measurement is not reliable.
Remember: if the tyre is in poor condition, you can face a penalty of 200 euro. In addition, we will not pass the technical inspection (ITV) of the car either.