As the calendar winter approaches relentlessly, drivers are rushing properly to prepare for the cold season and the challenges it poses. In preparation for them, it is worth to know for car owners not only how to prepare a vehicle, but also what to do with obsolete parts or how to recover part of the money for repairs.
Before winter – pay special attention to the automotive battery
From 10 November, it is forbidden to operate cars with summer tyres in Lithuania, so the change of them to winter tyres is the first work that the vast majority of drivers pay attention to. Before the cold season, it is also recommended to check vehicle operating fluids and their level (coolant, windshield washer), work quality of windshield wipers, efficiency of brake system and headlights, to purchase a windshield scraper and brush, to lubricate the door sealing rubber with special means.
One of the most important tasks as winter approaches is to check the condition of the automotive battery, which can be done in any repair shop. These devices are sensitive enough, especially when driving mostly short distances, and require timely maintenance – must be replaced on average every 5 years, and improper maintenance can ruin the mood at the most inopportune time – when the car cannot be started in the winter morning.
Paulius Repšys, the Development Director of Žalvaris, the largest hazardous and non-hazardous waste management facility in the country, says that proper car maintenance helps to ensure the safety of a driver, passengers and bystanders, but no less important part of this process is taking care of obsolete car parts, especially old automotive batteries. Due to the harmful substances automotive batteries contain, they must not be disposed of or left anywhere.
"We see an increase in the number of conscious drivers, and old tyres are more often being handed over to tyre dealers or left at waste collection points. The old automotive battery should not also be disposed of with household waste or just anywhere. Automotive batteries are a waste containing many hazardous chemicals – lead, sulfuric acid, antimony and others – that must be collected and recycled only by specialised waste handlers. When batteries decay, they emit heavy metals and electrolytes into the environment, therefore they are very polluting and extremely dangerous to health and the environment," P. Repšys warns.
Obsolete automotive batteries can be left in vehicle maintenance and repair shops or disposed of in large municipal waste collection points. In both cases, the waste collector pays for an old automotive battery handed over – depending on the market situation, on average about 10 euros.
According to P. Repšis, a frequent driver also changes engine or transmission oils, cabin mats, headlight bulbs before winter. All this obsolete waste must also be disposed of properly – not even bulbs can be disposed of in the household waste container due to the hazardous substances they contain.
"It is most convenient for a driver to leave old parts and liquids spilled from the vehicle in a car repair shop where the car is maintained. For this, it is important to choose reliable repair shops that have entered into an agreement with waste management facilities – this way you will be sure that the car waste will not lie in illegal rubbish, but will be properly disposed of and recycled," P. Repšys notes.
The specialist points out that it is not possible to dispose of obsolete containers of various vehicle operating fluids with household waste.
"Plastic containers used for windshield cleaners, coolants and other liquids must not be disposed of in mixed waste or sorting containers. This is a common driver error, posing also a danger to the environment. Usually, residues of hazardous chemicals remain in these containers, therefore they should also be disposed of only in specially designated places – for example, at fuel stations," P. Repšys emphasizes.
Possibility to recover part of the money
The specialist reminds that drivers also benefit from the use of transparent repair shops for another reason – the possibility to recover part of the money paid for car repair services and to promote a legally and responsibly operating business.
The procedure that came into force last year allows residents who have paid for car repairs and kept a proof of payment to recover up to EUR 400 of the personal income tax (PIT) paid by declaring income next year and filling in the form PRC912.
"If during the preparation of the car for the winter it turned out that repairs – mechanical, body, electronics, injection systems or other larger – are also needed, drivers can recover part of the PIT paid. To do this, it is necessary to obtain and save a document substantiating the provision of services: a purchase and sale receipt, a scanned or photographed invoice or VAT invoice. These documents for the previous year must be submitted by 15 February of the next year," P. Repšys says.
The most important driver's works before winter:
- Change tyres to winter tiyres
- Check the condition of the automotive battery or replace the old one with a new one
- Check the condition of the windshield wiper blades
- Check coolant level
- Ensure that there is no water in the cooling system that can freeze at negative temperatures. When freezing, water expands and can break up the containers into which it is poured.
- Replace the summer windshield cleaner with a winter windshield cleaner and ensure that there is no water in the windshield cleaner system.
- Check the level and quality of the brake system fluid
- If the windows dew frequently and abundantly, check the condition of the ventilation system and the cabin air filter
- Lubricate the door sealing rubber with a special, moisture-wicking lubricant that prevents the rubber from hardening
- Adjust the headlights – it is important to ensure both, all working bulbs and transparency of the headlights
- Diesel car owners are advised to take care of the condition of the glow plugs and diesel filter
- Assemble and carry in the boot a "winter kit": windshield scraper and brush, gloves, searchlight, tow rope, ignition wires.