When up against the elements, your car needs to be shown some love. Motorway offers its top tips for a tip-top car, all year round.

Car maintenance is all about being proactive and ensuring your vehicle’s ready to handle the challenges that come with the changing seasons.

With these top tips from Motorway, you can keep your car in tip-top condition, maintain the value of your car, and enjoy the beauty of each season without any unexpected automotive woes. A little prep will see you cruising through all four seasons, worry-free.But sometimes, damage to your car can be unexpected. Potholes driving you potty? Conkers got you going bonkers? Find out why it’s important to keep on top of regular maintenance, and when the time’s right, how to sell your car, the easy, stress-free way.

Autumn and winter car maintenance

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Prepare your car for colder weatherPrepare your car for colder weather (Image: Motorway)

As summer fades into autumn and eventually the darker winter nights, it’s time to prepare your car for the colder seasons.

Autumn and winter bring a unique set of challenges and considerations when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Roads can become dangerously slippery, with wet leaves or obscure sheets of ice, while colder temperatures may well dip below freezing.

Taking a few extra steps to ensure your car is in top condition can go a long way in preventing breakdowns and keeping you safe on the road.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Having proper tire traction is essential, no matter the weatherHaving proper tire traction is essential, no matter the weather (Image: Motorway)

Check your tires

One of the most critical aspects of autumn car maintenance is checking your tires. The changing weather conditions can make roads slippery, so having proper tire traction is essential.

Inspect tread depth: Use the penny test or a tire tread depth gauge to ensure your tires have at least 1.59mm of tread. If they are below this threshold, it’s time to replace them.

Check tyre pressure: Cooler temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop. Make sure all tires, including the spare, are inflated to the recommended levels listed in your owner’s manual.

Consider winter tyres: If you live in an area with harsh winters, investing in winter tires can greatly improve your car’s traction on snow and ice.

Examine your brakes

Your brakes are crucial for safe driving year-round, but they’re especially important in slippery autumnal and wintery conditions.

Check brake pads: Inspect your brake pads for wear. If they are less than 6.35mm thick, it’s time to replace them.

Look for signs of wear: Listen for any squeaking or grinding noises when you apply the brakes, as these can be indicators of worn brake components.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Use the penny test or a tire tread depth gauge to ensure your tires have at least 1.59mm inches of treadUse the penny test or a tire tread depth gauge to ensure your tires have at least 1.59mm inches of tread (Image: Motorway)

Replace worn wiper blades

There’s nothing worse than a squeaky or rough wiper blade struggling its way over your windscreen. Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition to bat away the falling leaves and driving rain, and replace old wipers if they streak, creak or leave behind residue.

Test your heater and defroster

With cooler temperatures on the horizon, it’s essential to make sure your car’s heater and defroster are working correctly. A functional heater will keep you warm, while a working defroster is vital for maintaining visibility in cold mornings.

Change the oil and check fluids

Regular oil changes are essential for your engine’s health. Check and top up other essential fluids like coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid to prevent any issues during autumn and winter driving.

Inspect your battery

Cold weather can put added stress on your car's battery. Have your battery tested to ensure it’s in good condition and replace it if it’s getting old or weak.

Clean your exterior

Autumn leaves, rain, and road grime can quickly build up on your car’s exterior. Regularly wash and wax your vehicle to protect the paint from rust and staining, and maintain its appearance.

Prepare an emergency kit

You don’t want to be caught short, so assemble an emergency kit that includes items like a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, and basic tools. You never know when you might need these items, especially in the colder seasons.

Spring and summer car maintenance

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Ensure that your car’s in good shape to handle the heat and the miles ahead.Ensure that your car’s in good shape to handle the heat and the miles ahead. (Image: Motorway)

Longer days, warmer weather, and road trips with friends and family – that’s what it’s all about. While you may be excited to hit the open road, it’s essential to ensure that your car’s in good shape to handle the heat and the miles ahead.

Regular car maintenance is crucial year-round, but there are specific tasks and precautions you should take during the spring and summer months. These tips from Motorway will help you keep your vehicle cool and trouble-free.

Check your cooling system

One of the most critical components to inspect during the warmer weather is your car’s cooling system. The engine can get extremely hot in high temperatures, and if your cooling system isn’t functioning correctly, it can lead to overheating and severe damage.

Coolant level: Ensure your coolant reservoir is at the proper level. Use a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water for best results.

Coolant quality: Check the condition of your coolant. If it appears dirty or discoloured, it’s time to replace it.

Hoses and belts: Examine the hoses and belts for signs of wear, cracks, or leaks. Make sure you replace any damaged components.

Inspect your tires

Hot roads from high temperatures can put extra stress on your tyres, making blowouts common in the summer. Proper tire maintenance is essential for both safety and fuel efficiency.

Tyre pressure: Check your tyre pressure regularly, as it tends to fluctuate with temperature changes. Ensure your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

Tyre tread: Inspect your tire tread for signs of wear and tear. Bald or unevenly worn tires can reduce traction and increase the risk of accidents.

Spare tyre: Don’t forget to check the condition and pressure of your spare tyre. You never know when you might need it.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Always inspect your tyre tread for signs of wear and tearAlways inspect your tyre tread for signs of wear and tear (Image: |Motorway)

Service your air conditioning system

A functioning air conditioning system is a must during the scorching months. Say goodbye to sweaty backs and slippery palms by making sure it’s all shipshape in the cabin.

Refrigerant levels: Make sure your A/C system has the correct refrigerant levels. Low levels can lead to poor cooling performance.

Cabin air filter: Replace the cabin air filter if it’s clogged or dirty. A clean filter improves airflow and keeps your A/C running smoothly.

Test your battery

Summer heat can take a toll on your car’s battery. High temperatures can lead to battery fluid evaporation and reduce its overall lifespan. Take the following precautions:

Battery terminals: Inspect the battery terminals for corrosion and clean them if necessary.

Battery voltage: Use a multimeter to check the battery’s voltage. If it’s consistently low, it may be time to replace it.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Make sure your engine has the right amount of clean oilMake sure your engine has the right amount of clean oil (Image: Motorway)

Keep your fluids in check

You’d top your own fluid levels up in the warmer months, so make sure you’re caring for your car the same way. In addition to coolant, be sure to check and top off other essential fluids, such as:

Engine oil: Ensure your engine has the right amount of clean oil. Consider switching to a higher viscosity oil if the temperatures remain scorching for long periods.

Brake fluid: Check your brake fluid level and condition. Properly functioning brakes are crucial for safety, no matter the season.

Maintain your car’s interior

Don’t forget about the inside of your car – a tidy car means a tidy mind, or something like that:

Cleanliness: Regularly clean and vacuum the interior to prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, and debris. This will also help to retain the value of your car and make sure you get the best price for it when you’re ready to sell.

Sunshades: Use sunshades to protect your dashboard and interior textiles from the sun’s damaging rays.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Potholes are rife on the roads all over the country, causing unexpected damage to carsPotholes are rife on the roads all over the country, causing unexpected damage to cars (Image: Motorway)
What causes unexpected damage to cars?

Research by the used car marketplace Motorway.co.uk has revealed what Brits experience in terms of unexpected damage – damage outside of wear and tear or road incidents – to their cars.

Potholes came out on top, with 55% of drivers experiencing pothole associated damage in the last year alone. This is set to increase following a record-breaking hot summer in 2023, which will see UK roads contract this winter.

This was closely followed by pigeon droppings wrecking paintwork (44%), debris on the road (40%), and stones impacting tyres (38%). Adverse weather conditions (22%) and low hanging branches (20%) showed nature isn’t always on the driver’s side when it comes to other top causes of unexpected damage.

Additionally, 80% of Brits are concerned about the cost of car maintenance over winter, with more than a fifth open to the idea of selling their vehicle. However, 65% are worried about how damage has affected the value of their car, with 70% seeking out at-home fixes to avoid forking out on repairs.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Take photos from a few different angles to profile your carTake photos from a few different angles to profile your car (Image: Motorway)

Retaining your car’s value

Though it might be tempting to opt for a quick fix, Alex Buttle, co-founder of Motorway, said: “When it comes to retaining the value of your car, it’s important to keep on top of regular maintenance and have repairs made as and when needed.

“While it can be frustrating to spend the money at the time, ultimately car owners will be maximising the future value of their car, which is always important when it’s time to sell,” said Buttle.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: When you accept an offer from a verified dealer, you’ll get your car collected from your home for freeWhen you accept an offer from a verified dealer, you’ll get your car collected from your home for free (Image: Motorway)

“Drivers should fix car damage quickly and professionally, to maintain the vehicle’s value,” he added.

If you think your car’s value may have changed with the seasons, you can get an instant, free valuation for your vehicle on Motorway.All you have to do is enter your reg and mileage into the Motorway website and you’ll see what you could get for your car or van on the marketplace, assuming it’s in good condition. Valuations on Motorway are accurate, reliable, and based on real-time data.

Ready to sell your car?

Gone are the days of tough negotiations, dealing with time wasters, spending time out on the road, and writing long listings for multiple platforms when you’re selling your car.Motorway, the online-only used car marketplace, is the fast and easy way to sell your car. It’s also 100% free, every step of the way, and a national network of verified dealers will compete to offer their best price for your car.

Profiling your vehicle and entering it into Motorway’s daily online sale is a walk in the park. By just using your smartphone and nothing else, all you have to do is take some high-res photos from different angles of the car you’re selling and confirm your details.

When you accept an offer from a verified dealer, you’ll then get your car collected from your home for free. Dealers can also clear any remaining finance with your lender and pay the surplus straight into your bank account.

Thinking of selling your car? For an easy, stress-free selling experience, visit Motorway. You can get a free, initial valuation today.