Give Your Car a Winter Health Check

The most challenging season of all is winter. Read on for our Winter Maintenance Tips.

Windscreen 

More than likely you will wake up to ice on your windscreen during the winter months. Do not be tempted to use a quick fix (jug of hot water) as this may crack your windscreen or worse.

Give yourself plenty of time, set aside 10-15 minutes extra in morning so you can fully de-ice and de-mist your vehicle. Stock up on de-icer and make sure you have a windscreen scrapper at all times, your car can freeze over quicker than you think in low temperatures.

Ensure you have full visibility before setting off, being safe is more important than being on time and causing an accident due to poor vision. Don’t forget to top your screen wash up regularly and check your wipers for damages.

Oil Levels 

Check your oil levels weekly, making sure the oil levels are between the maximum and minimum points at all times. This will help ensure no damage or wear is being caused to your engine from friction and heat.

Whilst checking the oil level also check your other fluids; screen wash, coolant etc.

Battery Levels 

The AA reported attending to an average of 1,150 breakdowns every hour in winter last year, with flat batteries being the most common reason for breakdown assistance.

The use of heaters, headlights, interior lights and other electrical components over time will cause strain on the battery itself. Be sure to switch off interior lights and headlights when they are not needed and make sure all lights are off when leaving the vehicle. After de-misting  the interior, turn heaters off to also help maintain the batteries life.

Tyres 

As the road conditions change in winter and across the seasons in the UK your vehicles tyres are increasing important to your safety. The AA recommends motorists have no less than 2mm of tyre tread all year round and preferably a minimum of 3mm in the winter.

If you are unsure of your tyre treads you can check them yourself or visit your nearest garage who may check them for you. It is also important to keep an eye on your tyre pressures and maintain the recommended PSI stated in your handbook. Blog divider

Review: Jeep Renegade

Make and Model:

Jeep Renegade Limited

Engine Size:

1.6 Diesel

Overview:

The Renegade can reach 0-60mph in 8-10 seconds, CO2 emissions of 115g/km and can achieve 64mpg. The Jeep is great to drive and its modern appearance is striking.

First Impressions – Exterior:

The overall look is more masculine with its bulky shape and lines but the colourful modern interior brings a sense of individuality which is unique.

First Impressions – Interior:

The Bark Brown/Sky Grey leather with Anodized Orange Bezel accents and stitching took awhile to get used to, but the contrasting colours where quirky and fun and made the interior of the Renegade unique.

The cockpit was centred around the driver, making for a pleasurable and comfortable drive. Everything was in easy reach and perfectly placed to be visible to the driver yet they could remain focused on the road. The U-Connect system and the DAB radio worked really well. However, you had to press the main navigations buttons 2-3 times for it to recognise you where changing from NAV to Radio to Phone etc.

The additional heated seats, heated steering wheel and electronic lumber support controls where just what you needed when traveling a long journey in the winter. It is obvious they have thought all about the driver experience and tried to implement as much as they can to make it a comfortable ride for both driver and passenger.

Performance:

The suspension was rather stiff and you could feel every bump and hole on the country lanes, but the acceleration and the smoothness when on the average road was really noticeable.

Practicality:

The interior is very generous with leg and head space in both the front and back. Also the boot capacity and extra hidden storage is excellent.

Rivals:

Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-3/5 and Honda HR-V

Overall Thoughts:

Overall the Renegade is comfortable to drive, especially on long journeys. Great handling on both main roads and country lanes. Fantastic driver experience with all the gadgets and extras provided in this model.

Score (out of 10): 

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Review: Kia Sportage

Make and Model:

Kia Sportage 4 CRD1

Engine Size:

2.0 CRD1 6 speed

Overview:

The Kia Sportage is a lot of car for your money. It is large inside and out, stylish and comfortable. At times it can feel slightly ‘boxy’ but it makes up for that by offering generous amount of space, gadgets and nice features.

First Impressions – Exterior:

The outside design is quite typical of a modern SUV / Crossover – but a lot larger. It has a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing shape and to keep the vehicle somewhat masculine and not too curvy, when viewed from the front is slightly square.

It is also relatively high and the average person will undoubtedly have to step up and into the car, this adds to the spacious feel.

First Impressions – Interior:

The interior was well executed, with all of the controls within easy reach.

It was impressively well-equipped with technology, the amount of information it provided was rather overwhelming but that is down to personal preference.

Both the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat had electronic adjusters and another charming feature, both seats were heated. The seats themselves are really comfortable and have adjustable lumber support – It really did feel like you were driving from an armchair.

The built in Sat Nav was simple to use and extremely helpful for example it noticed the fuel was low and asked if I wanted to go to the nearest garage – very handy!

It also had a DAB radio and media player which supplied excellent sound all around the vehicle. All of these operations were accessed by an 8” touch screen which sometimes needed to be pressed twice to get recognition but the overall experience and the ease of use made it an impeccable gadget to have.

The roof was full length glass, with tilt and slide open, this let in a great deal of light and air and added to the feel of there being ample room inside. The boot also had major advantages, it was wide as well as tall so perfect for family trips or lots of luggage.

Performance:

The car is deceiving but in a good way, it looks heavy to manoeuvre due to its size but is actually surprising light to drive, which makes a change to other SUV type vehicles. The drive felt positive and overall the vehicle was very responsive to different road conditions.

Practicality:

The car is best suited for those with large families or people with a requirement for lots of interior room.

Due to its sheer size, it makes narrow parking (even with the reversing camera) quite a challenge. However, the driving position is noticeably high above other vehicles so all round vision is very good.

Rivals:

Nissan Quashqai, SEAT Ateca, Renault Kadjar and Hyundai Tucson

Overall Thoughts:

The overall interior space, user friendly gadgets and comfortability are added bonuses to the sportier feel it presents on the road. The Kia Sportage is undeniably a worthy contender in the SUV/Crossover market.

Score (out of 10): 

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