Are you ready for winter?

Annie Joubert

car in snowAt this time of year there are loads of advertisements appearing in various places – bill posters, magazines, newspapers, and telly…. “Is your car ready for winter?”

Our household (my husband and I) enjoyed two company cars for a good number of years. Firstly, my husband gave his up as part of a salary reduction package … yes, that sort of thing happened even in 1995! I followed in 2000, not because of a salary reduction but because I found I was spending over two hours on the M6 to travel a distance of 25 miles in the morning, leaving my house at 6.15am and making my weary way along the same motorway in the evening, arriving home just after 8pm.

Imagine my delight when I was able to reduce this travelling time significantly through catching a local train and reaching my office 40 minutes later. So that company car got the heave ho, as did the trouble-free motoring that goes along with it – such as new tyres when needed, service and repairs when required, insurance and tax taken care of – all adding up to a good perk even though it was taxable.

This change in arrangements meant that the husband and I had to share a car, which, despite high volume discussions regarding priorities (the supermarket or golf on a Saturday morning!), worked very well.

However, it was drummed into me how important it was to maintain the “family” car (husband has an automotive industry background although he couldn’t change an oil filter if my life depended on it).  So regular servicing and maintenance was duly undertaken, although I thought it was all very expensive at the time, having to find in excess of £200 just before flying off on holiday for example!

Earlier this year our local garage offered a Service Plan agreement, which means that for a monthly direct debit of £24, our vehicle is covered for two services and MOT each year, and we get 10% off all parts and labour. I think that’s a really good deal – and even means we can book our car in mid-month or the week before Christmas without feeling the pinch.

So yes, our car is ready for winter – as is our boiler! We have had a boiler maintenance plan for years. When we moved into our 30-year-old house 20 years ago, yes, you guessed rightly, the first thing that blew up was the boiler! Our maintenance plan costs us £12 per month and includes unlimited free call-outs and an annual service plus parts and labour with the perfect help from I think this is good value too – if only for peace of mind.

There are lots of offers around for both vehicle and boiler maintenance – well worth considering to ensure that whatever the weather flings at you, you are ready for winter.