Preparing your car for winter
We’re now well into the winter season and with the cold, harsh weather fast approaching, a few minutes maintenance could see your vehicle through the worst the weather has to offer.
Plummeting temperatures and poor weather mean the number of breakdowns is likely to increase. So before the worst winter takes hold, we’ve put together our top tips for basic motor maintenance that will see you through to spring.
1. Ensure your car is serviced
If your car is due a service, make sure this is done before the winter season. While the sub-zero temperatures can cause a lot of problems for our vehicles, a lot of these could have been prevented by maintaining regular servicing and a good maintenance history.
TIP: Some garages offer discounted, or free, winter car checks. Take advantage of these!
2. Check the battery
During colder months, your vehicle’s battery is put under extra strain due to the increased use of lights and heaters. Because of this, the battery should be the first priority when performing checks.
If you’re experiencing problems starting the battery, we’ve put together a guide to help jump start your car. Alternatively, get it checked out by a professional.
3. Top up the engine coolant
Your engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. During the year, the mistake is often made of topping up the coolant with water too often, resulting in the antifreeze getting over-diluted. This can lead to the engine over-heating and becoming damaged, resulting in a very large repair fee.
4. Check the condition of your tyres
It is essential your car’s tyres are in good condition. Check each tyre for pressure and tread depth. During the winter months, the tread depth is recommended to be a minimum of 3mm compared to the legal minimum of 1.6mm. This gives the vehicle better grip when in icy conditions.
TIP: For additional grip in snow, slush and ice, you could look into getting your tyres changed from summer to winter tyres.
5. Clean your lights
Check that all lights, indicators and reflectors are clean and undamaged. Check that each light works including your full beams, fog lights and indicators.
6. Wash your windscreen and wipers
Give your windscreen a thorough clean inside and out. It is also important to check for any chips in the windscreen, as these can grow in the colder weather.
To check the wipers for damage, run your finger down the wiper blade to feel for nicks and tears. Any blades with damage should be replaced immediately.
NOTE: Don’t forget to top up your screen washer fluid!
7. Carry a winter car breakdown kit
To prepare for all situations, we recommend carrying a shovel, torch, blanket, high-visibility vest, snow grips for shoes, scraper and de-icer as part of your winter breakdown kit.
If you’re travelling for longer journeys, it is advised to always ensure your mobile phone has sufficient charge.
TIP: Carry snacks and drinks with you in case you’re stuck for a little while.
8. Check your breakdown cover
Comprehensive breakdown cover is essential at this time of year. It will give you peace of mind knowing you won’t be left in the cold for long periods of time without rescue.
TIP: Take contact numbers with you on all journeys.
When travelling during winter, it is most important to drive safely and sensibly. Offer additional time for journeys and check the forecast for weather warnings. We hope you have a safe and happy winter season!