Heading out in your car during the winter months? Here are some great ways you can prepare for the rather chilly road ahead...
- Checking your car can help avoid an easily preventable breakdown
- Bad weather can strike suddenly with very little notice
- Follow our top car maintenance tips to stay safe in winter
When the weather outside is frightful, the thought of your trusty chariot letting you down is enough to give you the chills. So we've put together a checklist of all the things you need to do to get your car ready for winter.
1 - Get your car serviced
Regular car maintenance can help to prevent car problems, so if you haven’t had your car checked by a professional in a while, get it serviced before the winter weather kicks in.
2 - Check your car battery
Ensure your car battery has been checked, charged or replaced. Using your lights and heaters more during the cold season will put more strain on the battery. If your car hasn’t been used for a while, you may need to re-charge the battery. Batteries will often be more expensive to replace after a breakdown, so be prepared and shop around for good value.
3 - Check your tyresYour tyres are vital to steer and brake on the roads, so they should always be a priority. Examine the tread depth and condition and ensure your pressure is checked; overnight cold air will make your tyres flatten slightly until they warm up when they're driven on again. Check your tyre pressure every two weeks to make sure they’re the right pressure.
4 - Get under the bonnet
Use antifreeze to protect your car against frost damage. This should normally be a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water all year round. When topping up your engine coolant, ensure that it is between the minimum and maximum markers.
5 - Check your lights
Check all your lights are in working order and clean; don’t forget fog lights and full beam headlights which you might need more with poor weather and darker evenings. You should also check your hazard lights, which could be crucial during a breakdown.
6 - Check your brakesIn the winter months your car’s ability to stop in a shorter distance can significantly decrease if the roads are wet and icy. Your brakes should always be kept in good condition. If you're unsure get them checked by a professional.
7 - Check your wiper blades
If your windscreen wipers are squeaking, this can mean they're damaged and need to be replaced. If not, make sure your windscreen and wipers are cleaned, keeping your screen clear of the dirty spray from other cars and helping to lessen the effects of the glare of the low winter sun. Don’t forget to top up your screen wash; check that you have the correct winter ratio.
8 - Have a winter car kit
A winter car kit might include a torch, blanket, screen wash, scraper, de-icer, a shovel, supplies and a fully charged mobile phone should you breakdown. Purchase an in car charger to make sure you’re never caught out.
9 - Get the right cover
Breakdown cover is very important to have, especially during the winter months so make sure to check your policy cover. If you are in any doubt about your car, seek professional advice from your car mechanic or dealer.