Winter is drawing closer, and it’s getting chillier. But it’s not just us we have to think about wrapping up warm, our cars need extra attention as well – it’s important to take precautions and be as prepared as possible. Give your car a health check before we plunge too much further into winter, follow these tips and advice for taking care of you car.
4 things to check before you drive off
Check your tyres for their condition, pressure and tread depth (3mm is recommended for winter motoring). Don’t reduce your tyre pressure to improve grip – this doesn’t actually work and if anything, you’ll lose stability.
Make sure your windscreen is clean and chip-free. The low sun during winter can affect visibility whilst driving, and a dirty windscreen will only make this worse.
Monitor your oil, brake fluid and water levels and ensure they’re topped up when needed. Add antifreeze to your windscreen washer fluid to help prevent it from freezing.
Check your battery and make sure that everything that drains the battery - lights, windscreen wipers and heaters - are all switched off when you turn your engine off at the end of your journey.
6 winter driving tips
5. Unstick your wipers
Before you turn on your windscreen wipers, manually pick them up off the windscreen to make sure they aren’t stuck; this will prevent them from breaking. Clear any snow or ice out from underneath the wipers.
6. Avoid using hot water
Don’t use hot water to try and unfreeze your windscreen, it can re-freeze really quickly and can cause the windscreen to crack.
7. Clear off all the snow
Clear all of the windscreen before you travel, not just a tiny hole for you to peek out of! You need a full field of vision when you’re driving, so wait until it is all clear and don’t forget to clear your mirrors too.
8. Take your time
Driving quickly on ice is a recipe for disaster. Also remember to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front, especially on hills. Always leave extra time to prepare the car in icy weather.
9. Be prepared
Keep an emergency kit in your boot, just in case. This usually includes a first aid kit, a high-visibility vest and a warning triangle. A blanket could also come in handy in case you get stranded waiting for help. It's also a good idea to keep de-icer and an ice-scraper in your car – it will work much better than a credit card!
10. Keep a full tank
Condensation from the shifting temperatures can sink to the bottom of your fuel tank, so if you’re driving with your red light on, this water could potentially reach the fuel line and freeze - very bad news!
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