Is your car ready for the winter?
As the weather changes and the nights draw in, the demands that are placed on your car increase. The lights go on, the heater fan gets turned up and the wipers are used more often. This places additional strain on the alternator and battery.
If you have a history of the car starting then, the worst thing to happen during a cold snap is the battery being flat when you’ve got a meeting at work or need take the children to school.
Do a winter check up for your car, here is some basic things to check:
- Do all the lights work?
- Does the coolant and screen wash have the correct winter rating?
- Does the heater work and clear the front screen?
- Does the rear screen heater work?
- Do the tyres have enough tread to cope with water, snow or whatever else you may drive over?
- Do the wipers clear the screen?
- Are the tyres at the correct pressure? (don’t forget the spare)
- If you’ve got air conditioning, does it work? It’s not just for the hot months – it’s designed to help stop condensation build upside the car and it clears the screens quicker.
Tips for extra bad weather and safety
- When driving in bad weather, keep the speed down and know your limits.
- Your tyres are the only thing on the car that hold you on the road. They need to have good tread to clear the water or snow away.
- Always carry some warm, waterproof clothes, some water to drink and some snack bars. Waiting to be rescued can take a long time!
- Spray a little silicon dry lube on your car door rubbers to stop the door freezing shut.
- Spray a little WD40 in the key locks to stop them freezing.
- If the windows have ice on them, don’t put them down it can cause damage to the rubbers, motor and in some cases shatter the glass. Scrape them clear and let them warm up.
- Wait for the car to warm up before setting off. Allow time for your windows to clear etc.
- Carry a good scraper.
- NEVER pour warm water on the windscreen. It can crack it the glass so let it warm up gradually.
- Carry a Hi-vis jackets and a warning triangle – be safe been seen!
- If you have stop, do it somewhere safe.
- If you encounter some water on the road and don’t know how deep it is then don’t drive into it. Most cars now take in air for the engine at the front by the headlamps or grill, and water can get in too.
- If you do drive through water, keep going in low gear and at a slow speed. But it always best to find another route if possible.
Tips for keeping going
Before a long journey, make sure you check the car over – it may save a lot of hassle later on. Even if you’ve got breakdown cover, no one likes waiting on the side of the road to be rescued! It always rains and takes long than you think. Here are some ideas
- Check the oil and fluid levels under the bonnet.
- Check tyre pressures. It’s very important if you’re driving long distances at speed.
- Check the lights work. You might be starting your journey in daylight but you could be arriving at night.
- Is the spare tyre ok? Have you got the right tools to change it?
- Do the Wipers work? It’s never good when it starts raining half way up the M40 and the wipers don’t work!