As the weather changes, you’ll likely encounter colder temperatures, slippery surfaces and frozen windscreen so make sure you check these top winter car check tips for basic motor maintenance that will see you and your car through to spring.
Check your car battery.
During cold weather, the car battery suffers a reduction in output due to the cold but due to cooler weather and darker nights a likely increased use of lights, heaters, and the blowers. A car battery should last about 5 years so if you know it’s ageing now is a good time to look at a replacement and always keep some jump leads in the boot during winter.
Top up engine coolant with antifreeze.
Your engine coolant should be a half and half mix of water and antifreeze. Some older cars need antifreeze added to the radiator, while newer models have a pre-added longer-lasting anti-freeze. The two should not be mixed so if you are unsure it’s always best to check with your mechanic.
Check the condition of your tyres.
You should be doing this regularly anyway as driving with defective tyres can cause accidents and could leave you with points on your licence. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, however, the deeper your tread is the better the in winter as adverse road conditions can lead you a higher risk of aquaplaning and losing control of the vehicle. As well as having good tread on your tyres it is also really important to check the tyre pressures regularly and keep them in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Clean your lights!
Check that all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean and well-functioning with working blubs. Often during the winter, there is more spray, dirt and grit on the roads which can cover the lights and dim them. Make sure you wipe them regularly, so you are as visible as possible.
Wash your windscreen and wipers
Make sure you have antifreeze in the screen wash, and that your wiper blades are in good condition. Check for any chips in the windscreen, as these can grow in the cold weather and crack during cold weather.
Carry a winter car breakdown kit
Breaking down is can be a major inconvenient at the best of times, but the cold and wet of the winter can make it life-threatening. It’s important to pack emergency equipment, especially when going on longer journeys away from home. Remember to include;
Food and water,
Blanket and warm clothes,
De-icer and ice scraper
First Aid Kit
Check your cover
A good level of breakdown cover is crucial during the winter and will give you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t end up stranded in the cold.
Ask a professional
Some garages offer free or discounted winter checks so keep your eyes out for special offers.
If you do have an accident in the cold weather or at any time, call our helpline immediately on 0800 5877578 or if you would like to add breakdown cover to your insurance, please contact us on 01803 659112