It doesn’t seem that long ago since we were polishing our shades getting ready for summer but the nights are becoming darker and with the Christmas decorations already appearing in shops we thought we would share some useful tips to help you prepare your car for the winter months approaching; It is important that you take good care of your vehicle throughout the year but in winter it becomes even more important to ensure you are safe and prepared for the winter conditions.
Make sure all exterior lights are working correctly and that windscreen wiper blades are in good condition. Check the oil, coolant and washer fluid levels. And, don’t leave home on that long trip over lonely country roads without enough fuel for the journey.
The following checks will help ensure your vehicle is ready for winter:
- Check your tyre condition to see if there is the right depth of tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check the pressure. If you live in an area where heavy snow is likely you may want to consider purchasing winter tyres to give you greater traction and control.
- Cold weather means hard work for batteries; Have the battery and charging system checked to prevent against unexpected incidents.
- Ensure your coolant is topped up and that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. Damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive compared to the cheap cost of anti-freeze. It is available at pretty much most service stations so pick some up next time you stop to refill.
- Make sure you have enough screenwash and that the concentration is suitable for cold conditions. Not all screenwash is the same so look for the temperature it protects down to. You should be looking for protection down to down to at least -10 degrees C depending on where you live. No screenwash can lead to the fuse blowing and your wipers not working because they are often on the same fuse.
- During winter temperatures wiper blades can become frozen to glass and it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up. Check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. As a general rule wiper blades should be replaced every 6 months.
- Make sure your heaters and defrosters work properly.
- Check the tyre tread depth and tyre pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tyres designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tyre pressure should be checked weekly.
- Always ensure you change the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. If you are doing the checks as part of your cars annual service ask the garage to check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
- Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item especially in icy and wet conditions.
- Although unusual it is worth having the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
- To prepare for those dark nights and mornings check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights properly aimed.