If your next car service is due, try to book your appointment before winter.
The difficult and ever changing weather conditions in winter can take its toll on your car, as well as your driving. Your risk of being involved in a road incident can be reduced by a thorough car service and regular maintenance checks, such as:
Keeping your car dry is an essential part of car maintenance, especially in winter. Moisture in your vehicle can lead to rust and damage to electronics.
Your car is more susceptible to condensation when the weather is cold. To reduce the risk, keep wet clothes, shoes and even coffee cups out of your car. Breathing can also trigger condensation so as soon as you get in the car, flick on your heat and the air conditioning system to clear up your windows.
Make sure you can see completely clearly out of all your windows before setting off. Driving with obscured vision is illegal, as well as dangerous.
Make sure your lights, rear reflectors and both indicators are clean before driving, and that no lenses are cracked. Most people will drive to and from work in the dark throughout winter so maintaining your lights is key to make sure you arrive safely.
With colder, wetter and darker days, your battery works extra hard during winter to run your headlights, heater and windscreen wipers. Keep an eye on your battery as winter approaches. If it’s regularly running down, consider replacing it or getting it checked.
There are two types of antifreeze, one for your screen wash and one for your engine cooling system. They can cause damage to your car if used incorrectly. Using antifreeze in your screen wash helps prevent your car's windscreen wash from freezing. Using a coolant antifreeze in your car engine’s cooling system can help stop your water from dropping to freezing temperatures. Check your antifreeze and water levels every week in winter, as you’re likely to use more due to dirtier road conditions from grit and ice. Always check your car manufacturer's guidelines before using antifreeze.
Regularly checking your tyres is especially important in winter. Cold and wet roads can dramatically affect the condition of your tyres.
The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre and around its circumference. However, in winter especially, you should replace your tyres well before they get to the legal standard.
The cold weather can also reduce the air pressure in your tyres, so be sure to check the pressure levels every other week. You can pump up your tyres at most petrol stations or with a home pump.
The cold weather is likely to freeze over your car, so give yourself enough time each morning to fully defrost your vehicle. Being able to see clearly out of your car and into all your mirrors is a legal requirement, and essential for your safety.
Start the car and let it heat up before you start scraping away any snow and ice. Your car will clear up any condensation and thaw out frost from the windshield. Turning on your headlights while defrosting your car can also help, as the heat from the bulbs will make it easier to scrape away from the lenses without damaging them.
Driving responsibly and safely is always a must, but extra care is needed during winter. Knowing how to handle dangerous driving situations in winter is not only helpful to your safety but to the care of your car.
Here are some top tips on winter road safety:
Roads are likely to become icy during winter, especially quiet routes that may not be gritted. In the case of skidding, it’s important not to panic and hit the brakes. Instead, should something go wrong while driving, keep steering and work to regain control of the vehicle.
In the case of an accident or breaking down, it’s always good to be prepared.
Here are some items that are essential to keep in your car during winter.
The contact details of your breakdown provider.
Keeping on top of your car maintenance is always necessary, but this is especially important during the colder weather.
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