Remember your car at Christmas time
December is a busy month for most of us, over and above our usual family routines. For those who run our own business there might be staff parties alongside year end reporting, VAT returns and the like. It’s also when I schedule and fill in my 2020 wall chart – this might sound like a small thing to you but it’s a big deal for me allowing me to see, at a glance, what I’m up to in the near future. I like this to include holidays so I’ve something to look forward to when work or just life itself is taking its toll on me. Somehow an online calendar doesn’t do this visual job for me - although it’s a much better nag of my work deadlines and meeting commitments.
So, December is the month above all others when we’re expected to do more than ever, ahead of a holiday break that promises to be wonderful for everyone but can’t possibly be. In traditional style we’re expected to organise greetings cards and presents to be bought, wrapped, addressed (or emailed) and delivered. Phew.
When your family is spread all over the UK it can even be the opportunity to deliver the presents and celebrate together in person even if this often means too many merry turkey dinners ahead of the big day itself.
I live in Sussex and have a northern and southern part to my family. Sadly this means I don’t see everyone as often as I’d like to. So this year my son decided to join me on a Santa run to catch up with his Northern cousins including a new baby neither of us had met yet. I toyed with us travelling to Newcastle by train and probably would have done this had it been just me on my own. Of course it would be greener and the fare was almost identical to the cost of the fuel I’d use. But the convenience of a door to door arrangement and the fact the fuel was now distinctly cheaper than two rail fares was the eventual clincher. It also means I can share the driving, catch up with my son’s gossip and pack the car with heavy and odd sized presents I wouldn’t have been able to fit into a suitcase otherwise.
Having decided to drive at Christmas, I then needed to think about my car which is rarely something at the top of my ‘to do’ list in December. With the benefit of hindsight, my tyres haven’t been as grippy recently which either means they’re getting close to the minimum tread levels or it’s simply a case of accepting that our wintery roads require my added driver concentration.
Of course I can and do check my tyres myself but on this occasion I decided I needed a garage professional to help me here and save me this time and any subsequent stress. Whilst my car is coming up for its first MOT next spring, it hasn’t had one yet or a service since March so I’m confident there’ll be something that a practised eye will spot better than mine.
December may also be the right time of year for you to spare some time on car care, if only to thank it for looking after you and your family during 2019 – and to encourage it to do the same in 2020.
So here are my Merry Festive Car Care tips to reward your car at Christmas and to take you away from the food and TV perhaps when you have the rare luxury of some time to spare.
Festive Car Care Tips
1. Always start by checking your car tyres.
If you haven’t done this recently, be sure to do this now mid winter road conditions when you need them at their safest. If you’re too busy to DIY, fit in a visit to your nearest Protyre centre and ask them to check your car tyres for you.
FOXY Lady Approved plug coming - Remember that all Protyre centres have signed the FOXY Lady Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell you anything you don’t need.’ This really matters because some garages can’t sign this promise and actively incentivise their staff to sell you new tyres and services by paying them commission on new sales regardless of genuine need.
2. How long is it since you had your car serviced?
Remember that the MOT looks for safety-related concerns but it isn’t a replacement for a regular car service where experts look out for oily or mechanical problems that can become expensive bills. Start by checking your oil for yourself perhaps – are the levels OK and is the colour of the oil a healthy greenish-brown or looking more like black? If it’s looking black-ish get an oil and filter service as a minimum booked as soon as possible. That’s the cheapest one and is ideal for drivers doing up to 5000 miles a year – in this scenario I suggest you have a full service one year and an oil and filter service the next perhaps.
3. Plan your motoring year ahead and save a little each month towards the expensive items
Put dates in the family diary ahead of car insurance renewals, VED payments, MOT and car servicing dates. Consider staggering your MOT and car servicing dates so your garage checks your car twice a year rather than just the once.
NB: Don’t leave renewing your car insurance until the last minute – apparently you can save as much as 28% by shopping around early says MoneySupermarket.com. https://www.moneysupermarket.com/car-insurance/when-to-renew/
4. Give your car a well-deserved wash
If your car needs a good hand car wash or a full valet but you don’t fancy doing it in the cold yourself - why not get this done by one of the many car cleaning concessions whilst you shop in the January Sales at your nearest supermarket store?
I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2020.
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