9 Winter Car Maintenance Essentials
I think it is safe to say with the drop in temperatures and the chilling wind that winter is just around the corner. With inclement weather conditions just around the corner, it is essential that you plan ahead and ensure your car is prepared and safe to drive. The drop in temperatures mean that there are more than double the number of breakdowns during the winter months. Here is a list of things you can do right now to ensure your car runs smoothly during the cold, snow and icy months and you are fully prepared if anything was to happen.
1. Get Your Car Serviced
If your car is due a service, get it done before the winter. It is essential your car is in tip top condition to see you through the winter. The cold weather can cause problems and many could have been by regular servicing and maintenance checks.
2. Check The Battery
During winter your car battery is used more due to the increased use of lights and heaters. The cold temperatures will also affect the battery’s ability to work at it’s optimum. The average life of a car battery is around five years so make sure yours is checked and replaced if necessary before you become stranded due to the battery being flat.
3. Check The Condition Of Your Tyres
As a car’s tyres are key to both steering and braking, it is essential they are in good condition. Check each week the tyre pressure and tread depth. It is recommended that the tyre depth be a minimum of 3mm during the winter months to allow for better grip in ice and snow. In order to have increased grip in snow, slush and ice you could consider changing your tyres to specialist winter ones.
4. Carry A Winter Car Breakdown Kit
This should include:
- Hi-visibility vest
- Food and drink
- Scraper and de-icer
- Appropriate shoes for walking in snow and ice in case you need to walk to safety.
- Always have at least a quarter of tank of fuel in case of any unexpected delay
- Fully charged mobile phone.
5. Clean Your Lights
Always check that all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean and that there are no cracked lenses or blown bulbs.
6. Top Up Your Engine Coolant
Your engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Many people make the mistake of topping up with water during the winter months when what you should be doing to ensure your water doesn’t freeze is adding antifreeze. If your water does freeze it can lead to the engine overheating which in turn could mean an expensive repair bill.
7. Wash Your Windscreen And Wipers Regularily
It is essential that you clean all of your windows inside and out and keep your screen washer fluid topped up and has some antifreeze added. Not being able to see out of your windows due to extra wet and mud being splashed on to your window could result in an accident. Also check wiper blades and replace if necessary.
8. Prepare For Your Journey
Before you set off on any journey, check the weather forecast, travel news and safest routes. Remember to allow extra journey time too. Clear all windows before you stat your journey of any ice. Remember to also clear the roof of any snow. If you need to stop to repeat this then do so. In bad weather always consider if your journey is necessary and if not then don’t travel.
9. Check Your Car Insurance And Breakdown Cover
Comprehensive breakdown cover is crucial at this time of year and will give you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t end up stranded in the cold. Remember to check policies to see what you are covered for and have policy details and contact phone number with you on all journeys.
If you don’t feel confident making any of these checks yourself find out more at Cars.com