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Driving tips and other life stuff

5 ways you can love your car this Valentine’s Day

In winter, we don't treat our cars right. We trek them through mud, we leave them out in the rain, we force their cold engines into spluttery life on frosty days.

Now spring is starting to look more likely, it's time to give your car a bit of a pick-me-up.

  1. Treat your car to a proper car wash

  2. Yes, it’s still doable at home. And if you usually give the excuse that you have no money to go to a car wash, this one’s for you 😉

    Why washing your car every now and then is a good idea:

    • Stopping your car from getting deeply dirty keeps the surface in good nick, maintaining the value
    • Regular and thorough washes can keep rust at bay because there's less damp or acidic muck eating away at the undercarriage and wheel arches of your car
    • Winter can cause a horrible blurry build-up on your windscreen, causing serious glare
    • If you’re unsure how to wash your car as thoroughly at home, YouTube is your friend, and can probably explain it better than we ever could!
    Look after your car and your car will look after you.
  3. Check out those tread depths

  4. If you're baby is looking a little bit rough around the wheels, measure your tread depths. These should be the legal MINIMUM of 1.6mm around the centre 3/4 of the tyre.

    But in reality, that's not enough for winter. The AA recommends 3mm to deal with ice and snow - and let's face it, February can still see plenty of that

    If you've been putting off the price of new tyres, Valentine's Day is the perfect time for a grand gesture.

  5. Lose some weight

  6. Admit it: you cart around approximately 2 tonnes of junk in your car. Broken sunglasses, 7 shoes, 2 coats, a tennis racket (which is weird because you don't actually play tennis), a layer of empty crisp packets and your entire filing system. Enough!

    Set aside some time for a full clear-out. You'll feel better, your car will smell better - and you'll be more fuel efficient from the lost weight.

  7. Check your oil levels

  8. Although some of us might not be driving as much as usual, it's always nice to show your car that you still love it by checking it’s all good under the hood.

    • Make sure your engine's cold and you're parked on level ground. Find your dipstick - that's where you check the level
    • Pull out the dipstick and wipe the end with a cloth, then put it back in
    • Pull it out again and look at where the oil mark comes up to between the MIN and MAX
    • If it's looking low, find your oil cap (it'll have a can on it) and unscrew it
    • Pour in some oil but don't go mad - overfilling is a bad idea and you can always check your oil level again if you want to go gradually. Don’t forget to screw the cap back on and wipe up any spill
  9. Promise you'll change

  10. What's one bad habit your car would thank you to give up?

    Mine's got to be going up through gears rather than skipping them when I can. I'm told I'll get through clutches like nobody's business. Eeek.

    Valentine's Day resolutions:

    • Filling up before the engine starts running on the gross fuel gunk at the bottom of your tank
    • Taking speed bumps slower to avoid grinding your exhaust on the road
    • Braking early and gently to keep your tyres and brakes nice (and be safe, obv)
    • Taking your foot off the clutch as soon as you're done changing gear to avoid wear
    Updated: 14th Feb 2018

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    Enjoy Valentine's Day!