As we wave goodbye to summer with a touch of longing in our eyes (or a touch of joy if you’re a fan of the cold), it’s time to turn our attention to what the next few months might bring.
For us, that means swapping the shorts for trousers, the t-shirts for jumpers and the sunglasses for a woolly scarf. For our cars, that means swapping the light days for dark nights, the shining sun for driving rain, and the dry roads for icy paths.
Whatever the autumn and winter have in store for us, there are plenty of simple checks you can do now to make sure your car is set up to tackle the more challenging conditions of the months ahead. Here are our top five suggestions.
With longer, darker nights incoming, we need our headlights more than ever to keep ourselves – and other drivers – safe on the road. So check your lights regularly to make sure they’re in a good condition and replace any failed bulbs as soon as you spot them (it’s not only dangerous to drive with a failed bulb, but also illegal).
When it comes to replacement bulbs, you’ve got several options and our guide to bulbs provides a great overview of the various features and benefits of each. Just make sure that whatever type you choose is suitable for your car. You can easily check this by using our online vehicle registration number checker, which will only give you appropriate results.
Even if only one of your bulbs has failed, we’d always recommend replacing them in pairs. Why? Well, it’s a time-saver because bulbs tend to degrade at similar rates anyway, so if one goes then the other probably isn’t far behind. It’ll also give you a more consistent light quality as new bulbs shine more brightly than older ones, which will make things safer for you and everyone else on the road.
If you’d like a second opinion on the condition of your bulbs, then we’d recommend booking in for our Free 5-Point Car Check, which covers your headlights and brake lights (among other things – more on that later!). We can also help with fitting for a small fee – just select this option during the online checkout process or pop into your local Halfords store or autocentre.
2. Wiper blades
The queen, fish and chips and cups of tea are just a few things that our country is famous for. Rain would be another, particularly in autumn and winter. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your wiper blades are up to the task of keeping your windscreen clear.
Signs that your blades might need replacing include if they leave smears or make a noise while moving, or if they’re not clearing the whole of your windscreen. You should also be on the look out for any splits in the blade or missing pieces of rubber as that’s another indication that it’s time for a change.
Wiper blades come in three main types: standard, flat and flat silicone. If you currently have standard blades then you can replace them like-for-like or upgrade to flat for a more efficient wiping motion and better visibility. If you currently have flat blades, then you can upgrade to flat silicone for a longer lifespan and even greater visibility. Check out our Wiper blades buyer’s guide for a full breakdown of the different types and their benefits.
The easiest way to discover the perfect wiper blades for your car is to pop your details into our vehicle registration number checker, which will automatically suggest options that are suitable for your vehicle.
Just like with your bulbs, if you’d like a second opinion on the condition of your blades then book in for our Free 5-Point Car Check . We can take care of fitting for you too, either in store, at your local autocentre or via our Halfords Mobile Experts service.
Like many of us, car batteries don’t like the cold. Lower temperatures slow batteries down and reduce their ability to hold a charge, which is why our cars can become harder to start in the autumn and winter months.
Batteries don’t like to be idle either. They naturally lose charge over time and while you might think that popping to your local shops every other day is enough to keep them happy, you actually need to be making journeys of at least 30 minutes for your car to effectively charge your battery.
All of which means that it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the condition of your battery so that you don’t end up stuck at home or caught out while you’re out and about.
If your car’s struggling to start or you notice any leaks or visible damage to the battery itself, then we’d suggest taking advantage of our Free Battery Health Check. Our expert technicians will check your battery’s key health indicators (such as its charging capabilities) and if a replacement’s required, they’ll be able to offer advice on that. Alternatively, you can enter your car registration number online to find a suitable replacement battery for your specific car.
Fitting a new battery isn’t the most straight-forward of processes, but our car battery fitting service will take all the hassle out of the situation for you from just £15. All you need to do is choose an appointment date and time that suits, sit back, relax and wait for one of our talented technicians to finish the job. And if you can’t get your car to one of our stores or autocentres then we can even come directly to your home via our Halfords Mobile Expert service!
Worn and damaged tyres can be dangerous enough to drive on when the weather’s good. But when you’re looking at wet and icy roads, where grip and stability are essential, then it becomes even more important to make sure your tyres are in a good condition.
Keep an eye out for any glass, nails or screws that might have become embedded in your tyres and could cause a puncture – the last thing you want is to end up stranded on the side of a road. The tread depth should also be within legal limits (1.6mm) and the pressure should match whatever numbers are listed in your car’s handbook. Checking your tread depth and tyre pressure is easy – all you need to do is pick up a tyre depth and pressure gauge and follow the instructions.
If you find yourself in need of a new set of tyres, then we’re here to help. We offer a variety of tyres from top names such as Bridgestone, Dunlop and Goodyear, and fitting is available at both our Halfords Autocentres and via our mobile fitting service. As always, just enter your vehicle registration number online to find the perfect tyres for your car.
And if you’d like a second opinion on the condition of your tyres, then just book in for our Free Tyre Check. One of our expert technicians will check the pressure, inspect the tread depth, and look for signs of damage or wear.
5. Oil level
It’s easy to forget to check your oil levels. Hidden away, under your bonnet, it can be a bit of a case of out of sight out of mind. But considering that your oil cleans, cools and protects your engine – helping to keep it running smoothly and to maintain the life of your vehicle – it’s something we should all stay on top of at all times.
Checking and topping up your oil levels is pretty straightforward and our handy article on the topic will walk you through the steps. We’ve also got a selection of oils to choose from and you can find the perfect match for your car by popping in your registration number online.
If you’d prefer to save yourself the hassle, then our 10-Point Car Check Health not only includes an oil level check, but also checks for all of the above and more! It only takes 30 minutes and costs just £15, so we reckon it’s well worth the investment and added peace of mind.
Want to find out more about the various free car checks that we have on offer? Check out our recent blog on Summer of servicing: Halfords free car checks in the spotlight. You can also find the full list of our motoring and fitting services at Halfords.com.