Keeping your car on the road in winter takes a little extra effort, especially considering all the rain, wind frost and snow that Britain is famous for. The elements can take their toll on your vehicle but a spot of preventative action can minimise damage which hopefully will mean less cost and inconvenience for you.
To help keep yourself, your passengers and your car clear of any winter woes, use the following tips to check your car is ready for the colder weather.
First and foremost you need to keep your windscreen clean and smear free. Give the glass on your windscreen a clean and don’t forget to pay attention to your wiper blades. If wipers aren’t clean they could spread more dirt over your windscreen and make the glare from oncoming headlights even worse. Check the condition of your wiper blades and if they are old or cracked then swap or buy a new pair.
Just because your windows are clean doesn’t mean they are any less prone to becoming frozen. If your windscreen does become frozen then make sure you completely de-ice and de-mist it before starting your drive. You could keep an ice scraper and can of defroster in your car for use during winter.
Headlights are another part of your car that can become especially dirty during winter. Salt, water and dirt from the road can coat your headlights, making it more difficult for you to see clearly when driving. Cleaning your headlights weekly should help keep things clear and bright for you.
Tyres are important all year round – the law in the United Kingdom states that the tread on all of your tyres must be at least 1.6mm deep. The bare minimum may be acceptable during summer and times of drier weather, but during winter you really need extra grip and you’ll be much safer if you aim for a tread thickness of 2-3mm.
Whilst on the subject of tyres, remember to check the pressure. Low tyre pressure means you wear the rubber more and burn excess fuel whereas tyre pressure that’s too high can make skidding more likely.
Car batteries are put under greater pressure in winter as heaters and lights are used more frequently. To promote good battery health, start your car with all electrics switched off, try to give your car a good run once a week to keep the battery charged. If it sounds like your battery is struggling to get started then you might want to consider investing in a new one.
Antifreeze is another winter essential and it’s important to keep levels topped up. Check your vehicle’s handbook for the manufacturer’s antifreeze recommendations and don’t fill past the maximum top up level as you could cause damage to the coolant system.
You never can predict when accidents will happen so keep yourself covered by having a car insurance policy in place.