A recent study revealed that Brits spent £499 each on Christmas presents this year! Be that as it may, we’ll be spending even more than that just keeping our cars on the road in the next 12 months: every year, £22bn is spent on service and maintenance - that’s over £590 per vehicle !
And while Christmas and sales shopping takes place within a planned, manageable timeframe, car trouble can strike at any time… right? Well, not quite. We're revealing what goes wrong, when. Want to know what to expect from your car next year, and what you can do to prevent it? Then read on. And remember: whenever you have car trouble, our 7,500 garages are ready and waiting - so post your job at any time.
1. Prepare for electrical trouble in January
You may be aware that cold weather increases strain on batteries and other electrical components. You’ll have more systems running (such as rear screen demisters and headlights) and batteries are less efficient in frosty conditions... but by how much? Well, you’re 2.4 times more likely to suffer electrical trouble in January than June, as a direct result of short days and cold nights. And it’s not just batteries that cause trouble. Alternators, lighting and other electrical faults or gremlins also play up during the winter.
What can you do? Any local garage can test the health of your battery in moments. You may want to fit a new one as a preventative measure.
2. Potholes have a knock-on effect - literally - in the spring...
Potholes develop in winter, when rainwater enters cracks in the road and freezes, weakening the asphalt surface until it eventually disintegrates, creating a pothole and causing a remarkable £2.8bn of vehicle damage every year! As well as well-publicised effects on alloy wheels and tyres, potholes can also cause more significant mechanical damage: Suspension and Steering Repairs (such as shock absorbers or wheel tracking) increase by around 75% in March/April (noting that a cold snap early in the winter may cause an actual pothole weeks later, and it may not be repaired right away.)
What can you do? Slow down and keep your eyes peeled! Avoid potholes, and avoid being part of that £2.8bn annual repair bill.
3. Speaking of knocks...
It’s not just potholes that drivers need to watch out for. Reduced daylight hours, rain, ice, snow and mist are all hallmarks of a typical British winter, and it’s hardly surprising that these conditions lead to more accidents. WhoCanFixMyCar.com sees 70% more requests for bodywork repairs at this time of year, compared to the autumn, and that’s right across the spectrum: from full-on crash repairs to bumper scuffs and dings.
What can you do? Take care, and consider your journeys. Do you really need to travel in treacherous conditions?
4. Sun’s out - is your car ready to ‘cruise’?
When the clocks go forward and you feel the warm sun on your back for the first time, your car will be on your mind once more - but this time it’s all about style. Come spring and early summer, we spend 2.5x more on upgrading our stereos, sprucing up upholstery and interior trim and the like.
What can you do? Looking to upgrade your stereo? Don’t wait ‘til summer - bag a bargain in the January sales. You’ll often find free fitment deals at this time of year too.
5. Are you keeping your ‘cool’?
However, that’s nothing compared to the demand seen for Air-Conditioning repair work, which increases ten-fold compared to midwinter. Exactly as you’d expect, the higher the mercury, the more people switch on their air-con, only to discover that it’s not up to the job. Finally spare a thought for arguably the biggest ‘cruisers’ of them all - the 2.5% of Brits who drive a convertible, who typically discover roof issues on the first warm day of the year: April sees 8x more of this sort of work than December.
What can you do? Both air-con and convertible roofs respond well to regular use - make sure to give both an occasional workout in winter and you’ll be less likely to face a repair bill (often a large one where roof mechanisms are involved) in the summer.
So there you have it - plenty to keep an eye on over the coming months! Remember, any time you need help with your car, WhoCanFixMyCar.com's 7,500 garages are waiting to help...so post your job at any time!