30 October, 2018

8 Tips To Prepare Your Car For Winter

Winter time is particularly hard time on your car as everything on your car has to work that little bit harder, so here are our top tips to help you prepare for winter.

  1. Free winter checks

Many of the large car maintenance chains (Halfords, KwikFit, National Tyre and Autocare) offer free or reduced price winter checks. A professional mechanic will easily be able to tell you whether your car is in need of any work. Although the service maybe reduced in price or even free, do not feel obligated to have any work done at the garage.

  1. The battery

When the weather turns cold, your battery can really suffer. The best way to check your battery is by using a multimeter.

Here is a good video to show you how to check your battery :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COJr7OB23Hw

Ultimately, if your car is struggling to start then even without any tools it might be an indication your battery is struggling.

  1. Tyre condition

Tyres work hard to keep you on the road and when the weather drops, like everything, that job becomes a little bit harder. You need to make sure that your tyre pressures are right, they have sufficient tread and are generally in a roadworthy condition, so they don’t have any cuts, bulges etc.

Where possible, we would always advise you to switch to winter tyres if you can, simply because they’re designed to operate in the colder temperatures and they have inbuilt design features such as sipes, that will aid gripping the road.

  1. Windscreen washers and wipers

In the colder weather and with salt being spread across the road, your windscreens are more likely to have a layer of dirt which will need cleaning. The best way to check your windscreen wipers and washers is to use them. If they clear your windscreen without any smearing or trails of water then they’ll be fine. Make sure that you fill your water bottle with a screen wash designed for colder temperatures rather than ordinary tap water, just so the fluid doesn’t freeze in the pipes preventing you using it.

  1. Engine coolant

Check the level of your engine coolant. Ideally if it needs a top up, use a dedicated engine coolant rather than tap water. Aside from the fact that tap water alone can cause long term engine damage, ultimately what you don’t want is for the coolant to freeze in the system.

  1. Lighting

With the colder weather comes the darker nights, so you need to check your lights are working, especially your dip beam lights, indicators and fog lamps. Bulbs can be easily replaced but if they’re out it can make it a lot harder for other motorists to see you.

  1. Top up your petrol / diesel

It might seem like a really odd thing to say, but make sure you have at least half a tank of fuel if you’re making local journeys, or at least three quarters of a tank for longer journey’s. It’s entirely possible that although your car maybe fine and running, there are circumstances out of your control that might mean you’re stuck on a road. Having fuel will allow you to keep your engine running and in turn heat the inside of your car.

  1. Carry a winter kit

Final tip, make sure you have a winter weather kit in the car. In recent winters we have seen motorists stranded on motorways and ‘A’ roads for up to 14 hours due to appalling weather conditions or unsafe road conditions.

So think, if you became stranded, could you last 14 hours? Our winter kit would include :

  • Warm clothing (a jacket, jumper, something for your legs)
  • Hi-vis jacket
  • Some form of food and drink, something that will last over the winter
  • Scraper and/or deicer
  • Fully charged mobile phone and ideally a charge cable that can be used in the car
  • Torch
  • Shovel