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Winter Driving

Like it or not British summer time has been & gone! (Sorry if you missed it)

As we enter the cold, dark, wet, windy and all together miserable winter period, The risk to you our valued customer whilst driving in theses hazardous conditions increases dramatically & we advise all of you to make sure you regularly check your vehicle to ensure it is in peak driving condition.

Make sure your wipers are working correctly & clearing your screen sufficiently, quickly & without leaving streaks and also ensuring your washer bottle is topped up with a good quality screen-wash additive to help prevent freezing of the fluid as it is being used.

Ensure all your vehicle lighting is working correctly so you can see & be seen on the dark winter morning & evening commutes, It is easier to check the lighting on your vehicle with another person checking the lighting functions are working on the exterior of your car whilst you operate the controls inside the car. Ensuring that any blown bulbs are replaced as soon as they are identified as being faulty.

Your tyres need to be of a legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breath of the tread and around the entire circumference. You can check your vehicles tyres tread depth easily with a common 20p coin, Place the coin in the tread and make sure the tread covers the edge running around the circumference of the 20p (Feel free to call into the garage with a 20p and we will demonstrate for you & invest the 20p for you into our coffee machine)  . Handling & performance of your vehicle will be effected below a tread depth of 3.0mm this is why will start advising you to think about changing your tyres from this depth.

The 1.6mm is the section of the coin that houses the writing & date around the edge

Tyres also need to be kept inflated to the correct setting as advised by your vehicle manufacturer in your model specific handbook, You need to check your Tyre pressure whilst your tyres are cold and adjust the psi as required.

Fuel Conservation

With no sign of an end to fuel price rises what can you do to reduce its impact on your business or household budget?

There are a few simple changes you can make that can have a significant impact on fuel consumption;

  • Walk or cycle

Where possible walking or cycling instead of driving will not only save you fuel but has health benefits as well as being Eco-friendly!

  • Car sharing

As well as saving fuel, car sharing helps to reduce road congestion and is also Eco-friendly.

  • Route planning

Plan your route before starting your journey, combine shorter journeys and avoid high traffic flow times (where possible!)

  • Remove excess weight from the vehicle

           Carrying unnecessary items in, or on, your vehicle increases the energy required to move it, using more fuel and therefore increasing fuel consumption.

  • Ensure tyres are at the correct pressures

Tyres at the correct pressure have a lower rolling resistance and use much less energy / fuel, not to mention being a lot safer

  • Streamline

Reduce your vehicles air resistance by ensuring that cycle racks and roof racks / boxes are only fitted when in use – these items create a lot of turbulence and drag which has significant impact on fuel consumption.

  • Don`t speed!

Driving in a hurry hurts your fuel consumption, licence (penalty points) & pocket (fines, insurance & fuel costs). Keeping within the appropriate speed limit is not only a legal requirement, but safer for you & other road users and will reduce your fuel consumption.

  • Look ahead.

Better observation allows you to see up-coming hazards such as slowing / stopped vehicles, enabling you to react early and keep the vehicle`s momentum moving, reducing the need to brake and ultimately making journey times a little quicker as well as being safer & saving fuel.

  • Smooth Driving

Smooth acceleration & braking will reduce the amount of fuel you use to get to the speed you wish to travel at and does not add any significant time to your journey.

Anticipate changes in traffic – taking your foot off of the accelerator pedal when approaching red traffic lights will reduce the amount of fuel the engine uses (the engines in most modern cars use very little or no fuel when coasting in gear), reduces wear of braking components (which in turn saves money for replacement parts), and you may not be required to stop, therefore reducing the amount of acceleration required to get you back up to speed.

  • Vehicle servicing

Well serviced vehicles operate more efficiently, require less financial investment in fuel & replacement parts, are much more reliable and hold residual values.

This Article has been put together from a talk by

Alan Phillips Eng. Tech, MSOE, MIRTE

Managing Director

Advance Vehicle Auditing Service Ltd