Carbuyertom.com has put together a great article about getting your car through the winter period, to view the original click here.
Your car needs looking after all year round, but it needs extra care throughout the winter months. Which is why in this article we’re going to explain what we think are a few of the major ways to keep your car running in tip top shape this winter, ensuring that the chances of encountering an issue are greatly reduced.
Think About Your Car Battery
Flat batteries are the most common cause of winter breakdowns. This is unsurprising as during the winter months the car battery is often getting used a lot more than it does at other times of the year, mostly because drivers are suddenly using their cars heaters and lights a whole lot more.
We recommend not using your cars appliances unnecessarily, to not leave your car unused for lengthy periods as the chances of the battery failing is a lot less likely if it’s got a regular charge running through it. Finally, a cars battery life is usually about five years (however this varies a little depending on the model/make of the car), so if you think your battery is coming toward the end of its life then we recommend you check out your battery levels and replace your battery now instead of leaving it and finding yourself stranded somewhere in the cold when your battery dies on you unexpectedly.
Check Your Anti-Freeze Levels
For those that are unaware, anti-freeze does the job of preventing the coolant that’s in your engine from freezing up. Basically, if the coolant is unable to circulate around your engine it will most likely cause things to overheat, likely resulting in your car breaking down. So we recommend you make sure you top up using the right concentration of anti-freeze.
Check Your Brakes
You should be checking your breaks year round, but checking them in the winter months is arguably of even more importance primarily due to the bad weather. We propose getting a professional to check the brakes even if things look okay to you and even if your car isn’t displaying any obvious warning signs.
Check Your Tyre Tread and Pressure
A minimum of a three millimetre tread depth is what’s recommended for safe driving throughout the winter months, although the minimum required by law is one point six millimetres (do double check this though). And almost all tyres have what is known as tyre wear indicators. A general rule is that if you can rub your finger over the tyre wear indicator into the main tread body of the tyre, then you’ve got an issue, as you’re at the limit, which indicates that it’s time for replacement tyres. Also, if you will be using your car frequently over the winter period, and can afford it, then we highly recommend fitting specific tyres designed for winter driving.
Along with tyre tread, checking tyre pressure also bears great importance. You should ideally be checking tyre pressure once a week at the very least and matching the pressure of your tyres up to what has been recommended by your car manufacturer. You can usually find out what your car manufacturer recommends in terms of tyre pressure by looking through the vehicle handbook or visiting your nearest reputable garage.
In terms of tyre tread and pressure checks and all other tyre checks don’t just rely on your own judgement, get a professionals opinion if you are unsure if the condition of your tyres are good enough to be driving using them.
Check Your Oil Levels
Low oil levels can be particularly problematic and damaging during the cold winter months, so take an extra effort to check your oil levels more frequently. At least once a week.
Conduct Windscreen Checks
This is kind of obvious, I know, but you’d be seriously shocked by the number of people that try and drive whilst their windscreens are half covered in snow. Driving with snow or ice on the windscreen during the winter months can put you and other motorists at a safety risk, so please don’t do it.
We suggest you spend some time before you set off to ensure your windscreen is clear of snow and/or ice completely. Also, even if your car has no snow or ice on it, do make sure you have some de-icer and a scraper in your car just in case. One final thing, it’s generally a good idea to carry out windscreen wiper checks before setting out during the winter months as there is nothing worse than if it starts to snow and you find that your windscreen wipers needed replacing all along.
Carry Out Visibility Checks
In the recent past the police have issued warnings that they would actually be fining drivers who do not take the time to get rid of loose snow from their cars before setting off, this is something that quite a few people still don’t know. The primary reason for this is that loose snow coming off cars can actually obstruct the visibility for other motorists, especially if the snow happens to land on their windscreen whilst they’re driving.
Also, if you’re number plates are covered in snow this has the potential to get you into some trouble too. Finally, if your external lights, and especially headlights, happen to be covered in snow or ice this could also get you into a bit of trouble as if your headlights cannot be seen you’re essentially a hazard to yourself and to others around you. To help prevent you putting yourself or other motorists in harms way or getting yourself into trouble we recommend you carry out a full all round visibility check of your vehicle before you set off as well as taking any othe appropriate measures to make your car is as ice and snow free as you can before you set off.
All of the above are what we think are some of the major tips for making sure your car is in the best shape possible for cold winter driving. There may well be other tips we’ve missed so do search around online to make extra sure you are doing everything possible to ensure your driving is safe and hassle free this winter.
And remember, always consult and seek out the advice of a professional mechanic if you are unsure about anything related to your car.