Winter Car Essentials: How to Prepare Your Car for Winter
As the cold days & dark nights draw in, it’s vital that we ensure our cars are winter ready. According to research, we are twice as likely to break down in the winter months as our cars don’t cope as well with freezing weather conditions. We are also much more likely to have accidents due to the icy roads.
It’s really important, therefore, to give our cars some extra attention during these winter months. These quick checks listed below will not only help to prevent breakdowns, but also will increase your car’s road safety.
Pass The MOT Test
Is your car due its MOT? These necessary Ministry of Transport Tests are a very important part of car ownership as they check whether your car is safe and roadworthy. Without this, you could be putting yourself and other road users at risk, particularly during the winter time. If your MOT is due there are plenty of garages offering these tests. Why not book your car into Fife Autocentre in Dundee for an MOT?
Service Your Car
It is incredibly important to keep up with your car’s annual services. Neglecting to do them, particularly before & during the winter months, can mean you end up with some costly repairs. All modern cars have an owner’s manual which provides a proposed service schedule. This schedule varies between car makes & models, but is designed to fit your car so as to ensure it runs properly. Stick to these schedules and hopefully you will avoid a surprise trip to the repair garage!
Check Your Brakes
Brakes are critical to vehicle safety, especially when the roads are icy or snowy. There are plenty of warning signs as to whether your brakes need replacing, for example the brake light appearing on your dashboard or taking longer to stop your car than normal. However, it is best not to wait for these things to happen… Get your brakes checked by a professional in time for winter, even if you are not due a car service.
Check Your Car Battery
Cold weather can put a lot of demand on your car’s battery as we use our lights, heaters & window wipers much more frequently. Also, if you park your car outside overnight, freezing temperatures can be really damaging & you may find it doesn’t work particularly well in the morning! To help your battery last longer, don’t turn lights / heaters / wipers on until you are running the engine. Also, as soon as your car is warmed up, turn the heaters down.
Check Antifreeze Levels
Antifreeze stops the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing. To prevent any issues, it should be changed every couple of years. You can check the levels yourself and top it up with a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water solution.
Check Your Tyres
If you do a lot of winter driving it may be worth investing in a set of winter tyres. This is not compulsory in the UK, but is certainly something to consider. They not only offer exceptional grip in both snow and ice, but are also better in wet weather conditions.
Whether you choose to use winter tyres or not, it is important to check your existing tyres regularly during the winter months. The legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm, but it is highly recommended to be much higher than this during the winter – around 3mm. It is also important to check your tyre pressure as a drop in temperature can change it. Check your owner’s manual to see your car’s recommended tyre pressure.
By following the above advice, you will ensure your car is ready to withstand the cold weather & hopefully ensure you have a safe driving experience. Remember… before you set off on a journey in icy or snowy conditions, consider if it is really essential to travel, or can it wait? It’s better to be safe than sorry.