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Make sure you are well tuned

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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The first suspect might be a flat battery.

In the colder months, we put more strain on the battery than at any other time, by powering our heaters, de-misters, windscreen wipers and lights. Short journeys, such as the quick trip to work, or to the shops, can bring about the downfall of many motorists, as the battery, drained of its full strength, fails to recharge in the short time between departure and destination.

Action

Have your battery checked before the cold weather sets in. Always remember to turn your lights down or off when driving in full daylight and in clear visibility, and double check they're turned off before leaving the car.

Suspect 2 - Frozen Engine

In very cold weather, the engine can freeze if precautionary measures are not taken.

Motoring organisation Green Flag reports that it deals with around 3,000 cases each winter where engines have seized, the radiators having been starved of anti-freeze.

Action

While your vehicle may run perfectly well in summer, if it has not been recently maintained, dampness can set in, causing failure to any part of the complex ignition system.

Keep anti-freeze levels topped up to maximum capacity: never fall short of the recommended measure as the damage can be expensive.

Suspect 3 - Flooded Engine

Heavy rainfall over recent years has led to an increase in flooding in many areas across the country. Unphased by the threat of danger, scores of motorists, choosing to brave the wet have found themselves in need of drying out.

Air filters on the front of any vehicle are designed to suck in air, thus keeping the engine cool.

When immersed in water, the filters will naturally draw it in, flooding the engine and causing the vehicle to stall.

While elevated four-wheel drive vehicles may be more advantageous in standing the test of nature's hazards, the air intake systems on smaller cars will be far closer to ground level

Action

In either case, never drive through water that's more than two feet deep. If you're unsure of its depth – take a detour.

Should you successfully negotiate a water hazard, always test your brakes immediately afterwards.

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