Winter motoring advice … Retro style

DARK mornings are now upon us we speed towards winter.

The last thing you want on a chilly dark morning is to drag yourself out to your car, pop the key in the ignition, but instead of your mean machine firing up, it stays static and sounds like it’s had a heavy night of Cigarettes and Booze.

Here are 10 top tips to keep your mean machine trouble free during the chilly months.

  1. Get a service. Keep your motor in top nick by getting a decent service. Ask your neighbour, Fergus, if he can get away from work a bit early and catch the last bit of daylight to squeeze in a service. Why not take your car to a garage? Well Fergus has a decent track record … you’ve seen him revive a Ford Cortina during the summer … It took him 6 weeks but the car now runs like a beast! Chances are Fergus will just want a couple of pints as payment so you’ll save yourself a bit of Dosh.
  1. Check your tyre pressure. Easy … Take a couple steps back, swing your leg back (as if taking a penalty kick) and give your tyre a good kick. If you drop to the ground wriggling with pain then your tyre pressure is spot on. If not then nip over to Fergus for a foot pump and give your tyres a boost.
  1. Pour in some oil. I once heard a story about a guy who’d constantly burn his cars out. Eventually we found out that he’d never put oil in the engine. Fergus should really have checked your oil level during the service but with time restrictions due to lack of daylight hours, he may have omitted this check. Check that dipstick … if low on oil then top up quickly … I recommend Duckhams.


  1. Screenwash. Now I know there is a temptation to pour a mixture of water and washing up liquid into your screen wash reservoir … don’t do it! Screen wash at the correct dilution level won’t freeze and will keep your windscreen smear free.
  1. Warm up … Do you really need it? Whilst growing up, a regular occurrence for motorists was to jump in their cars and just sit there revving the engine. The reasoning for this was to warm up. I had mixed views on this method as the best and most efficient way of warming up is to drive the damn thing! It’s totally up to you how you prefer to warm up … I sadly have not got the same level of expertise as Fergus. This leads me nicely onto …
  1. Basic knowledge. Some motorists only know how to drive their vehicle, which is fine. The question is do they know the basics of how their four wheeled (or 3 wheeled) vehicle works? If not then get yourself a copy of the classic ‘How it works the Motor Car’. You know it makes sense.


  1. Watch that Choke! When you start up on a freezing morning the chances are you will need to pull the choke out then push it in as your engine gets to temperature. Forget to push it back in and you’ll end up stranded with a flooded engine. You’ll be sobbing over your steering wheel as the queue of traffic builds up behind you.
  1. Have enough petrol in the tank. Don’t be caught out by letting your petrol level drop so low that it evaporates. Get yourself to your local Esso station (indicated by the innocent looking Tiger) and fill to the brim with 4 star leaded. Drive off happy and confident knowing you have tiger power fuelling your mean machine … Vroom Vroom!


  1. Money. Keep some 10p coins handy on your journeys. Even after your vehicle has been serviced, there is still a remote chance you could still breakdown. Having coins handy allows you to make that emergency call from a phonebox. Make sure you know Fergus’ surname so you can find him in the phonebook.
  1. Specialised knowledge. Not all cars are the same. Get to know your car by getting hold of a Haynes manual. Study it … study it with intensity until you know the in’s and out’s of your vehicle. Impress Fergus with your specialised knowledge and eventually you’ll be able to sack him off!