There’s no escaping the fact that the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are falling here in the UK. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to give your car or van the once-over to make sure it’s ready for winter.
One of the best places to start is with the wheels, and more specifically your tyres. Etyres recently suggested that now is the ideal time to think about fitting all-season or winter tyres to your vehicle to improve your safety on the road.
Winter tyres are designed to perform at their best in cold conditions, so if you live in the north of the UK they are likely to be very useful.
Even if you’re not planning to swap your tyres, you should at the very least check their condition before the cold weather starts in earnest. According to Mix96, you should start by doing a visual inspection to make sure the tread depth is adequate. If there isn’t enough tread on your tyres, it will increase your stopping distance.
You should also check your tyre pressures to ensure they are within the manufacturer’s recommended limits. Again, under or over-inflated tyres can worsen their grip on the road.
If you have genuine alloy wheels on your car now is also a good time to think about how you’re going to care for them during the winter.
With colder weather, roads are gritted and the presence of salt, as well as other dirt that your wheels pick up as you drive around, can damage the alloys if they’re not regularly cleaned. Make sure you plan some time to rinse them down after long journeys and use a wheel cleaner to bring them back to their best.
Drivers of modified diesel cars are being warned against a specific modification that could see them face a fine if caught.
According to an investigation by the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), thousands of motorists across the UK are driving diesel cars that have been modified to remove the pollution exhaust filter - an expensive part to replace, the Express reports.
Removing the filter costs just a couple of hundred pounds and the process is not illegal, however, driving around in a diesel car without a filter is against the law.
Since 2014, 1,800 cars have been found to have had their pollution filters removed. Drivers of diesel cars can be fined up to £1,000 if caught, while van drivers could be made to shell out up to £2,500.
Vehicles manufactured since 2009 must have a diesel particulate filter fitted, however, these can cost up to £1,000 to repair, with many motorists choosing to avoid the cost of repairs when the filter breaks.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “Vehicles found to have tampered with or missing DPF filters will fail their MOT... DVSA continues to pursue such offences and will take action against any MOT garages found to be conducting illegal modifications.”
Exhaust system upgrades are among the most popular types of car modification, along with upgrading a vehicle’s wheels.
Investing in a snazzy set of alloy wheels can be beneficial in terms of reducing a vehicle’s weight while also enhancing its aesthetic appeal without any of the worry associated with mods like tampering with the exhaust. Shop for alloy wheels online here.
If you're a lover of new UK alloy wheels, you'll undoubtedly have a nemesis on the roads when it comes to driving your car – potholes. A study commissioned by car insurer Confused.com has revealed that more than a million potholes were reported to the council in 2016, thanks to a Freedom of Information request sent to 412 local councils, according to AOL.
The research also found that 33 per cent of drivers have suffered damage to their vehicles in the past year thanks to poor road surfaces, affecting tyres, suspension and alloys.
Local councils blame central government for not giving enough funding to repair road damage, however, a government spokesperson replied to say they were being adequately funded:: "Year on year, the Department for Transport is providing councils with record levels of capital funding - more than £7.1 billion up to 2021 - for them to improve local roads and repair potholes.”
If your vehicle is damaged in any way by a pothole or road surface in a state of disrepair, did you know you may be entitled to compensation? As well as the £104 million spent repairing potholes each year, £3.1 million is spent in compensation to motorists.
However, a report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance suggests that the uK needs a budget of £12 billion to bring the network of roads in the UK up to an acceptable level, despite the fact this dwarfs the entire budget for highways and transport, sitting at £4.4 billion for 2016.
If you’ve just bought alloy wheels online, you’re sure to know just how expensive they can be – which is why they’re often such attractive prospects to thieves. This is why you need to do all you can to ensure your alloys are properly protected or you could find you have to make a hefty insurance claim, losing your no-claims bonus into the bargain.
Unfortunately, alloys are relatively easy to pinch and almost impossible for the police to trace once they’re gone. It’s easier nowadays for thieves to make off with your alloys and not the actual car, thanks to all the high tech drivers now have at their disposal.
But you can invest in the likes of locking wheel nuts, which can make it a bit harder for people to make off with your precious new alloys. That said, tools are now available that can be used to remove these wheel nuts so even this won’t make your car completely safe. It will slow them down, however, so it’s still worth making the investment.
Insuring your wheels and tyres as part of your car insurance policy is certainly wise if you do shell out for a set of high quality alloys. And you should also be more cautious about where you park – choose somewhere with a lot of light, footfall and traffic so thieves are more likely to be spotted.
You can also buy a car alarm that has sensors which attach to the wheels, which goes off if the car is tilted or if the wheels are tampered with.
It’s definitely true that you get more modified cars in some areas than others - and now if you’re into that kind of motor, with its genuine alloy wheels, big spoilers and tinted windows, you may want to visit certain parts of the UK to see how others have pimped their rides.
The Sun recently highlighted the top ten towns in the UK for boy racer-style modified cars, with the small town of Lighthorne in Warwickshire taking the number one spot in the list of places to see modified motors.
Using data from Euro Car Parts, the newspaper came up with the list based on the number of modifying parts purchased compared to the local population.
In at number two was Bangor in North Wales, while Truro, Bridgewater and Greater Manchester’s Sale made up the rest of the top five. Also in the top ten list were Cannock, King’s Lynn, Birstall, Tamworth and Grimsby.
There are a number of rural locations included in the list, which could mean you spot some rather shiny and austentatious rides while you’re enjoying a drive along some of the UK’s winding country roads.
The survey also found that while the drivers of modified cars are often dubbed boy racers, they’re typically aged 25 to 34, although 91 per cent of those buying these kinds of parts were men.
One person who certainly hasn’t skimped on his ride is Sir Bradley Wiggins, with the Sun recently revealing that the gold-medal winning cyclist was selling his motorhome at auction this month.
The modified Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van features alloy wheels, as well as five TVs, Union Jack decals and red, white and blue leather seats.
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