Preparing your car for colder months is very different to other times of the year, so we have created some top tips to ensure your vehicle is ready and safe to use:
Make sure your car is serviced – If your car is due a service, it will be highly beneficial to make sure this is done before winter. The change in weather can create a myriad of issues for cars, such as fuses, electrical connections, hosing and other ancillaries failing. Many of these can be prevented by regular servicing and care.
Ensure the engine coolant is topped up with antifreeze – Engine coolant levels should be regularly monitored over the winter period as the engine does work harder. The coolant itself should be a 50% mix of antifreeze and water as the colder weather during the winter months can cause the water to freeze and cause the engine to overheat.
Regularly check your tyres – You should check your tyre pressure each week and ensure they are properly inflated, free of debris such as nails, and have at least 1.6mm of tread across the tyre width. The inside shoulder of the tyre is particularly important as this is harder to see whilst the wheels are straight but can result in 3 points on your licence. Rotating your tyres every 5,000 miles can help give you the best fuel economy and prevent excess wear. If possible, it could also be worth changing from summer to winter tyres, as this can help with better traction in snow or ice.
Be prepared for ice – Topping up your washer fluid with antifreeze can help to de-ice the windscreen when frozen over. Also don’t forget to pop a scraper inside your car, to help with those deeper freezes, especially in the morning. Never attempt to use the windscreen wipers whilst frozen. At best, this will result in torn wiper blades, at worst it could damage the motor or wiper mechanism. A canvas or cloth windscreen cover can also help reduce the effects of ice on your windscreen and wipers.
Check the battery – Batteries have a lifespan of around five years and during the winter months these can suffer in cold temperatures. As a result, the battery output can decrease and the increased use of internal heaters, demisters and headlights can mean it is placed under even greater strain. Try, where possible, to avoid running ancillary items such as the infotainment and heaters solely on the 12v battery and have the engine running to avoid unnecessarily depleting the battery.