Looking after your vehicle
The importance of vehicle management
Looking after your vehicle is as important to your safety as the way you drive it. Did you know that your windscreen makes up 30% of your vehicle’s structural integrity? Or that tyre pressure affects not just handling but also stopping distances, wear rates and fuel consumption?
Read and follow our advice to make sure your vehicle is always safe and roadworthy.
1. Tyre depth
By law, all vehicle tyres must have a tread of 1.6mm. However at Alphabet, we replace tyres when they reach 2mm. A quick, easy test is to place a 20p coin in the groove of your tyre. If the outer band of the coin is obscured by the tyre, your tread is above the legal limit.
2. Brand and size
If your tyres need replacing, it's important that the new tyres are the right size and brand. You can find this information in your vehicle's handbook or embossed on the outer wall of your current tyres.
3. Tyre pressure
Having your tyres at the right pressure can improve fuel economy, reduce stopping distances and prolong their life. You can find the right pressure in your vehicle manual, printed on the inside ledge of the driver's door, or inside the petrol cap. You can use the facilities provided at most petrol stations to test and inflate tyres.
4. Visual inspection
Before every journey, you should inspect your tyres for any signs of bulges, side wall damage, or embedded foreign objects such as nails or glass.
1. Check your windscreen regularly
Some chips can start out so small they go unnoticed. Inspect your windscreen before journeys to avoid a small chip becoming a crack, because on average, replacements cost 90% more than repairs
2. Report chips immediately
A minor chip can be repaired far less expensively than large cracks. Report any damage to your windscreen immediately to avoid having to replace it
3. Leave enough distance
Cars in front can throw up debris that can damage your windscreen so leave enough space to reduce this risk
4. De-ice safely
Use de-icer and a suitable scraper to remove ice. Boiling water can crack your windscreen, while a credit card, CD case or similar could scratch it
5. Clear the entire windscreen
Don't just clear enough for the driver to see out, as your view is severely restricted. Don't forget to clear side windows and mirrors too
6. Use proper washer fluid
Your windscreen washer fluid should always be topped up with manufacturer-approved screen wash. Water is less effective and can freeze in cold weather
7. Look after your wipers
Using your windscreen wipers to clear ice can damage them, making them less effective. Clean your wipers regularly and look out for splits
8. Keep wipers clear in summer, too
Clear your wipers of dust and dirt to avoid damage and maintain visibility
1. Don't just top up your fuel
Make sure to regularly check (and top up if necessary) your oil, brake fluid, AdBlue, coolant and washer fluid.
2. Keep your battery healthy
If you have an electric vehicle, check your handbook for advice on how to keep your battery working well for longer. Often this means keeping the charge between 20-80%, only 'fast charging' when you need to, and parking in the shade on hot days.
3. Don't forget the E in your PHEV
If you drive a plug-in hybrid, try not to let the battery run down completely. Although you'll still be able to drive with the petrol/diesel engine, having zero charge for an extended period of time could reduce the performance and lifespan of your battery.