Driving: GMB guests debate importance of car cleanliness
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Annex six of the Highway Code deals with vehicle maintenance and states that drivers should “take special care” to ensure their car is clean. It adds that lights, indicators, reflectors, and number plates must be kept clean and clear, as well as windscreens and windows need to be free from obstructions.
Drivers could leave themselves open to a £100 to £2,500 fine and three penalty points under the Road Vehicles Regulations 1986.
Failing to take action with bird mess can lead to drivers having to pay hefty charges to redo the paintwork.
Andrew Jervis, CEO of ClickMechanic, warned drivers that leaving the bird mess on their car could lead to bigger problems down the line.
He said: “Bird mess is one of the unfortunate inevitabilities of owning a vehicle.
“Yes, it can be unpleasant to deal with, but failing to clean it off promptly can cause damage to the paintwork and land you with an equally unpleasant bill further down the line.
“With a PH level of around four, it can burn through the clear coat top layer and eat away at the paintwork.
“The best thing to do is clean it off as soon as possible with a homemade mixture of baking soda and hot water, let it soak for 10 minutes and then simply wipe off.”
The problem with bird mess lies with its acidic nature, meaning it will eat away at alkaline substances such as paint to achieve neutrality.
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Damage can occur within as little as 48 hours, making it important to take action as soon as the problem is noticed.
This can manifest as a dull stain where the droppings were, or even flaked paintwork where it has eaten into the surface.
And sometimes, being too aggressive in trying to remove the mess can end up causing even more damage.
While there is little that motorists can do to avoid such accidents in the first place while on the road, it can be useful to store the vehicle in a garage overnight, or use a cover if parked outdoors.
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It’s also worth – if possible – not parking under trees or telegraph poles where birds often congregate and are therefore more likely to do their business.
Having a messy car can also lead to fines, especially if it becomes a safety hazard.
If caught “driving without due care and attention”, police can give drivers a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on their licence.
With a more serious claim, they could end up in court facing a £2,500 fine or even a driving ban.
Jamie Louram, Halfords Car Cleaning Buyer, shared his advice on what to look out for to make sure cars are clean, tidy, and most importantly safe to drive.
He said: “Whilst there is no fine for having a messy interior, clutter if bad enough can also fall under the careless driving rule leading to a fine of up to £100.
“As a general rule, keep your car clutter-free to avoid any dangerous situations such as things getting stuck under the brake pedal or blocking your view.
“If you do tend to err on the side of messy when it comes to your car, a bin is a great solution.”
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