How to get your car winter-ready
Cold weather and harsher driving conditions can mean that winter really plays havoc with your vehicle. Follow our top maintenance tips to avoid any problems.
Check the battery
During the winter, the battery has to endure both cold temperatures, which affects the output, and the increased use of lights and heating, which puts it under extra strain. Most batteries have a shelf-life of around five years. If your car is struggling, get the battery checked out and, if necessary, replaced. And if your vehicle won’t start because of a flat battery, you can always try a jump-start.
Top up engine coolant with anti-freeze
Ideally, engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze. It’s a common mistake that when people top up the water levels that they often forget about the anti-freeze. This can over-dilute the anti-freeze and cause freezing in very cold weather. This can also make the engine over-heat, resulting in a very expensive repair bill.
Get a service
While the cold weather can cause a lot of issues for cars, probably more than 50 per cent of them could be avoided by regular services and maintenance checks.
Check your tyres
The tyres are crucial to both steering and braking, so it is essential they are in good condition. Check the pressure and tread depth to make sure they have enough grip in the winter months.
Clean your lights
Check that all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean. Look out for cracked lenses or blown bulbs and don’t forget to check the headlights on full beam, the fog lights and the indicators are working to full effect.
Wash your windscreen wipers
Give the windscreen a good clean inside and out, and top up your screen washer fluid with anti-freeze. Run your fingers along the wiper blades to find any tears and replace them if they look damaged. Also, check for any chips on the windscreen as these can get bigger in cold weather.
Keep a winter breakdown kit in the car
Your winter breakdown kit should include a spade, fully charged torch, warm blanket, high-vis jacket and/or warm coat, screenwash, bottle of water and snacks, scraper, de-icer spray and a mobile phone charger and adaptor.
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