At this time of year, whilst the majority of us are scrambling around at the last minute trying to find the perfect presents for our nearest and dearest, it's easy to neglect the one thing in which we casually take for granted on a day to day basis, despite it being the one thing which we are often useless without: the car.
Baring that in mind, here's what your car would probably ask for this Christmas: Winter Warmers
Although, as humans, we naturally seek out warmth as soon as we sense any form of cold creeping in, cars are quite the opposite – they don't respond well to our ways of warming. 1. The Warm Water Swish When your windscreen is frozen over with a bullet-proof layer of ice and you’re lacking in de-icer and patience, the instant solution is to swish it with something warm, isn’t it? Admit it, we’ve all done it. But your car windscreen will not thank you for it and may crack back at you in frustration. Xtrons advice: Go old school with an ice-scraper.
2. Winter Garments Whilst waddling towards your car in your plumpest winter jacket, snowshoes and insulated gloves, you may be convinced that you’re ready for any artic terrain, yet your car will be in despair knowing that those clunky shoes and slippery gloves do not make for a familiar driving style causing you to over or under-compensate. Xtrons advice: Heated seats are a safer alternative.
3. Heat Her Up ‘Heat her up’ by turning the heaters up. This is the immediate response after climbing in to a frozen vehicle, and it is viable for a couple of minutes, but running your car engine whilst remaining idle is not recommended. Firstly, engines are not designed to stand still. Secondly, it can cause buildup on your spark plugs, making them less efficient. Xtrons advice: Heat up on the move. Christmas Tipples
Quenching our Christmas thirst is always high on the agenda and the festive period provides the perfect excuse to indulge in our favourite tipples, whether it’s a brandy for the old man or a glass of milk for Rudolf, everybody is often catered for. Everybody but your beloved four wheels, that is. 4. Thickening Fluids The colder it gets, the thicker your car fluids become. This includes oil, anti-freeze, brake and transmission fluids. Nowadays, most fluids have built-in anti-freeze additives but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by plummeting temperatures. Transmission fluids must be able to move swiftly and brake fluid cannot be sluggish otherwise you’re in for a disaster. Xtrons advice: Check, double check & top up or flush your fluids.
5. Top Up The Tank Don’t gamble on fumes getting you home this Christmas. Fill up frequently and keep your tank topped up otherwise your car will be vulnerable to the moist air in your near empty tank freezing and crystallising, causing ice in the fuel lines. Xtrons advice: Don’t be a Scrooge - fill it to the brim and quench your car’s thirst. Invisibility
The one wish we would request from a genie would be to be invisible, no doubt. The snow stimulates a lot of our senses. We are often excited by the sight of it, in awe at the beauty of it and imaginative at the thought of it. However, being invisible, or damaging the visibility of other drivers because of it, is a recipe for disaster. 6. Camouflage Granted, when the snow falls and lays a white blanket over your car, it is pretty cool to see it disappear into the snowy distance. But setting off as if you’re on an undercover mission with a mountain of snow attached to your car is not so cool. You’ll know from your own experience that being behind a car showering you in a white dust makes for a pretty difficult journey. Xtrons advice: Clear the snow off your roof, and make sure to get snow away from your headlights and tail lights.
7. Whacky Wipers You may’ve seen some people pointing their wipers towards the skies in anticipation of a snow storm and it’s a sensible idea. Despite it looking strange, there’s a perfectly logical reason as to why: it prevents the snow, ice and slush freezing them to your windscreen; they’re only rubber and can break easily under pressure. Xtrons advice: Clear your windscreen manually, before making your wipers do it. Checks, Not Cheques
Rather than forking out a fortune on faults found on your car, this Christmas, check some of these common causes of car failures, and use the money saved… 8. Batteries Not Included It’s the inscription on most toys and the small print on most toy adverts, however, a toy without a battery isn’t as much hassle as a car with an unexpected dead battery. Although a typical battery can last 3-4 years, extreme cold pulls voltage from a battery, making it near impossible for your car to start. Xtrons advice: Keep it in the garage or get your battery tested ahead of winter weather.
9. Christmas Crackers When water seeps into cracks in the road, the tarmac chips away and potholes can form during a constant freeze-thaw cycle. Similar damage can occur to your car but it’s the potholes you should be aware of, as these have the potential to write off your car completely. Xtrons advice: Keep your eyes peeled and avoid drastic swerving & breaking.
10. Pass The Salt Potholes and snow are not the only problems drivers must contend with throughout the winter months. There’s another element out to spoil your Christmas spirit: salt. By sticking to your car’s metal components, it can corrode it, especially on the undercarriage, brakes and wheel wells. Xtrons advice: Hose your car down regularly.
If your car could speak, we’re sure these are the things it would be asking for, or at least asking you to consider ahead of the winter season. Take some time to make maintenance and performance checks to ensure your Christmas is a safe one.