Welcome to the third of our Rolls-Royce & Bentley Driver technical guides. For the first two –summer servicingand front brakes – we used our Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II, so this time it had to be a Bentley! We’ll walk you through winter preparation tasks on our 2001 Arnage Red Label test and development car, starting with air and pollen filters, then spark plugs, hydraulic fluid, and tyres, and finally screenwash and coolant. We won’t go into engine oil here as we covered that in the July/ August issue. Please note that the Arnage evolved significantly over its production run, so make sure you get the right parts for your specific model.
Air filters are a low-cost but vital service item, preventing dirt and debris from entering the engine. They are prone to becoming very clogged, which hampers airflow and affects performance, so we recommend replacing them annually. Similarly, pollen filters – some people call them cabin filters – stop unwanted particles from entering the interior. Neither job is particularly difficult, and you’ll definitely notice the difference if they haven’t been changed for a while.
It's good practice to replace spark plugs regularly for preventative maintenance. If your car struggles to start, or misfires, or your engine light comes on, then they are prime suspect number two, after the battery. Then we’re into essential checks – hydraulic fluid level, tyres, screenwash and coolant. On tyres, while the minimum legal level is 1.6mm, experts advise around 3mm for best traction. Remember the 20p test – if the outer band of a 20p coin is still visible, you need new rubber.
Keeping antifreeze/coolant at the right level is another easy win. As well as altering the freezing point to prevent icing (which can lead to split hoses or pipe leaks), it also raises the boiling point to guard against overheating. Screenwash, you don’t need me to tell you about…but don’t run out!
The usual caveats apply. Please note that these articles are intended as general guidance only. For model-specific instructions please refer to your owner’s manual. Finally, and we can’t emphasise this enough: safety is paramount. Please use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and dispose of waste products responsibly. Good luck and mind your head!