In December my son in law was to graduate from Dartmouth Naval College as a Medical officer.

     

I don’t know if you have ever been to Dartmouth but it’s a delightful, picturesque, coastal town. The Naval College sits high above the town, overlooking the sea harbour. Amazing views as you can see.

This was a very proud moment for my daughter as well as our family. She married last August only to then see her new husband ‘boot camped’ off to Dartmouth for three months! The sacrifices our military families have to make are very evident at Dartmouth. One young officer had just had a new baby daughter and had to immediately leave to train to serve our country.

“All very nice Mike, but what’s this got to do with motoring?” I hear you say!

Well I’m leading into that. In recent e mails I have tried to convey the need, that despite cars becoming more and more reliable and appearing to require less maintenance, there is still a need to carry out simple, periodic checks yourself.
I talked about the need for checking tyre pressures, as my ‘Navy spouse’ daughter found out was important! And my elder daughter learnt it’s a good idea to check oil levels before long runs! With my daughters providing timely reminders …. now it’s ‘Dad’ that can provide the third example.

Windscreen Washers

Hardly exciting stuff but last November, boy did I need the washers! We had previously visited Dartmouth Naval College over a delightful Autumn weekend, however the weather for this visit was absolutely foul! We were visiting to witness the passing out parade of the new officers. It was cold with
driving rain, high on the hillside position and the wind cut right through you. The Royal Marines band played as the rain teemed. It was bad enough for those spectating but the poor officers in no overcoats marched and then stood for a couple of hours in this! Preparation for the high seas I guess? However, it was one of those occasions where one felt proud to be there.

The journey back to Woking was a timely reminder to ensure that my washer bottle was full before starting out. The roads were filthy and with the rain it encouraged a mist of ‘muck’ to continually cover the screen. Thank goodness modern cars have screen washer bottles with huge capacity. (Anyone remember the old Minis with their plastic bags, you filled with little more than a milk bottles worth! Hopeless!)
But on this journey I had not checked. I found myself using the washers sparingly to conserve for the journey ahead. I should know better. I recall one similar journey when my washer fluid ran out and there was no where to fill it up. It was down right dangerous to drive with the screen so dirty.

A lesson learnt for sure! No car manufacturer has yet designed a ‘dryless washer’ system whereby you don’t need to use water. I’m sure there is a ‘Dragons Den’ style idea out there though whereby the rain water that falls on the screen could be collected for the washer system to use. In our climate it would never be empty!

So the moral of this journey
Before a long run, top up the washer level and use a cleaning additive that will prevent the water from freezing! (Sorry – not Fairy Liquid!) Best to use ‘washer fluid’ that comes in concentrated form (5 litres is best value) just add as directed.

So three things for periodic checks

  1. Oil Level
  2. Tyre Pressures
  3. Washer Fluid

Next time – the final two – Brake and Coolant fluids – exciting stuff!

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