As the nights draw in and the days get colder, now’s the perfect time to get your car ready for the colder season. Winter weather presents one of the most severe driving conditions than any other weather condition. Plummeting temperatures and poor weather also mean the number of breakdowns can more than double throughout the winter months.
And with forecasters now indicating more chilly weather during the next couple of days, now’s the time to shift focus so a vehicle will be able to withstand the cold.
Here are our top tips for basic car maintenance that will see drivers through to spring.
Do the basic checks
- Check anti-freeze levels and ensure there is an ice-scraper and some de-icer spray that’s easily accessible in the car.
- Check that your lights are still working on both sides of the car – including at the front and back – as grime and grit from winter roads can stop them from glowing correctly.
- Ensure the windscreen wipers are in good condition and replace them if need be.
- Ensure the battery is in good condition too and fully charged on top of the car’s oil levels.
- Check the condition of the car’s brakes and steering – road surfaces can become much more treacherous during this time of year.
- Check the tyres to ensure they are at least the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm.
Prepare a winter kit
Keeping a winter kit to hand is also advised during the colder months in cases of emergency. Weather experts advise drivers keep the following in their cars:
- Ice scraper
- Jump start cables
- Torch and spare batteries
- Spare warm clothes
- Food and drink
- First aid kit
- High visibility jacket
- Boots with good grip
- Empty fuel can
- In-car phone charger
- Two reflective warning signs
Prepare for longer journeys
Before heading off on a long journey check the latest weather forecast and consider adding extra time to the journey spare to avoid having to rush. Clear windows of snow and ice before driving, and make sure to use a scraper and de-icer (never use boiling water!)
Check breakdown cover
Comprehensive breakdown cover is essential at this time of year, not only will it allow peace of mind, but will also mean ending up stranded in the cold won’t be an option.
Check what your policy covers and remember to carry a necessary contact phone number when going on any journey.
Get a service
Get a service before winter begins if your car is due for one. Cold weather can cause problems for motors, but up to half of them could be avoided by servicing and regular checks.