Experts share wisdom on safer winter motoring

10 November 2009 #SMMT News

Motor industry self-regulatory body, Motor Codes Ltd, is committed to raising standards and increasing consumer protection for UK motorists. This winter, Motor Codes is encouraging its service and repair garages to provide expert seasonal motoring advice to customers, further demonstrating the professionalism and excellent customer service motorists can expect from a Motor Codes garage.
“Regular servicing and simple car care are vital to ensure vehicles run smoothly, efficiently and safely through the winter months,” said Chris Mason, Motor Codes director. “The Code commits service and repair centres to be honest, fair and transparent in customer service. Over and above this, we have gathered expert opinion from across the motor industry that we intend to pass on to customers through our subscribing garages and the Motor Industry Codes website.”
Winter motoring tips that participating garages will be encouraged to discuss with their customers include:
Tyre condition – RAC
RAC information manager, Frank Flynn
“Tyres are vital safety equipment as they are the only contact between drivers and the road. Therefore, checking and maintaining tyre pressures is important during the winter months as when the temperature drops, so does the tyre pressure. This can lead to excessive tyre wear causing poor brake performance and adverse fuel economy performance.”
DIY vehicle maintenance – Motor Codes garage
S&B Motors (Middlesex), Steve Boyce
“Simple driveway tasks can keep your pride and joy on the road through the worst of this winter’s freezing conditions.  Using an all-season screen wash, correctly diluted to resist freezing, will clear your screen of salty deposits and grime, while topping up coolant levels will prevent the water in your radiator from freezing.  Remember that the cooling system should only be topped up before starting your vehicle.
“Additionally, regular washing and even an application of a high-quality car wax will protect and preserve your paintwork from corrosion, particularly during winter when the salt used to keep roads ice-free can accelerate paint damage.  Finally, always keep light lenses clean and make sure you regularly check that bulbs are working.”
Winter driving considerations – RoadSafe
RoadSafe director, Adrian Walsh
“As light fades and temperatures drop, it is essential to allow longer for journeys, driving more slowly and above all smoothly, as skidding is generally caused by harsh acceleration, steering or braking.
“If windows are covered in ice or misted-up, make sure they are totally clear before setting off – don’t be tempted simply to scrape a portion of the front screen. When clearing the inside of the windscreen, turn on air conditioning to help speed-up the process.  Using headlights ensures other road users can see you, so keep lights and mirrors free from snow and ice, not just the windows.
“Finally, when on the move, always leave more space between vehicles.  Longer braking distances are required on slippery roads – double in the wet and up to ten times further in icy conditions.”
More information about the Motor Industry Codes is available at At the website, motorists can also search for participating garages, set up a free service and MOT reminder, and find details for the free consumer advice line – 0800 692 0825.

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