Sometimes it seems that the weather has a grudge against us. Spring may be on the approach, but we still have a few more weeks of rain, snow, and icy roads. This weather may be affecting the durability of your car more than you realise. Even worse, these conditions affect your safety while driving. Here are some tips for ensuring a safe drive home.
Ensuring visibility: windshield wipers
We often take the functionality of our windshield wipers for granted. People don’t tend to give them much thought unless they’re not working as they should! It is crucial that these work when you need them to, so be sure to test them every now and again. Even with blue skies and sunshine, take the time to make sure these guys are still able to move back and forth!
Windshield wipers tend to have a lifespan of years, so they’re not at the forefront of our mind. But they’re not invincible; the rubber does gradually wear away. When the weather is wet or snowy, dirt and moisture can build up. This can shorten their lifespan. Be sure to clean them regularly!
A great way to increase the longevity of the wipers is to make their jobs easier. By adding rain repellent to your windshield, you can lessen the effect of water build-up. This will help with visibility and allow you to slow down the speed of your windshield wipers. Decreasing vigorous use will help you keep up the strength of your wipers!
Keeping a grip: tyres
A strong set of tyres is a must on wet roads. Wet surfaces affect rolling resistance, meaning you may find your brakes less effective. European tyre regulations provide a rating system for what they call “wet grip performance”. Labels on tyres will show you this ranking. ‘G’ indicates the lowest performance. Avoid these! We recommend getting yourself a set of ‘A’-rated tyres. Goodyear EfficientGrip tyres are among those with the highest rating in this area.
A set of tyres with a strong grip will also help save fuel. When the braking distance is shorter, fuel efficiency increases. So you’re not only staying safe, you’re saving money in the long run!
As with windshield wipers, you should be sure to clean your tyres often. Moisture and dust produced by braking will corrode tyre material.
Staying shiny!: protecting your paint job
So, the most important stuff is out of the way. What about keeping your car looking new and clean? Rain and snow are the worst enemies of your paint job.
Rainwater is an acidic substance. That doesn’t mean it’ll melt your car, but it does mean it’s not as safe as tap water. The acidity of fallen rain will damage the paint of your car over time. Some deal with the issue by rinsing their car with a hose or buckets of tap water after driving in rainy weather. This isn’t friendly to the environment, though. The environment is what’s doing this to our car in the first place, so we probably shouldn’t anger it further!
Waxes or sealants are an excellent way of protecting your paint job from heat or moisture. Any wax will get the job done. As long as there’s a protective layer over your car, rain won’t be hitting the paint as hard. The cheaper stuff tends to last for days, whereas more expensive products could last weeks.
As with the windshield wipers and the tyres, you should wash your car often. Don’t fall into the “it’ll just get dirty again” mode of thinking! It’s not just about your car looking shiny: dirt will cause corrosion and contribute to rust.
On the road: driving tips
What about when you’re out there, on the road? Through rain and snow, there are several safety measures you need to keep in mind.
The first, and most important, tip: slow down! Even with stronger tyres, wet weather affects your braking distance. It may be necessary to drive just below the speed limit in some areas. You should also take care to keep a safe distance from other cars. The “three-second rule” may need an extra second or two in rainy conditions.
Try to stay as far as possible from the curb. Water pools at the edges of roads. If you have to go through a big puddle near a curb, slow down to reduce the subsequent splash. Not only does this stop your car getting soaked, but it can also keep pedestrians dry!
Speaking of big puddles: be careful if you can’t see the ground beneath them! If you can’t tell how deep a body of water is, then stay away from it altogether. After all that maintenance, you don’t want your car to get swept away.