Winter is fast approaching, which means the roads are getting slippery, the nights are drawing in and the days are getting cooler. Much like us, cars don’t tend to like the cold and that’s why it’s increasingly important to look after your wheels throughout the chilly season.
According to the AA, you’re more likely to break down during the colder months than you are mid-summer. So, to reduce your risks of breaking down or being caught out by the weather this winter, these are the top five simple checks we suggest you carry out on your vehicle.
Antifreeze: Regularly check the coolant level of your vehicle and, if required, top-up with the correct type of antifreeze. If you’re in doubt, your local garage can check the concentration to ensure it is adequate for cold temperature protection.
Battery: A flat battery is the most common cause of winter breakdowns. A vibrant new battery won’t struggle in the winter months, but a battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold. To avoid being stranded at work or on the driveway, get your battery checked and replaced if necessary.
Lights: As we all know, the winter season means we tend to leave for work in the dark and commute home in the dark, so it’s crucial that all of your bulbs are working – brake lights, tail lights, headlights and indicators. Clean your lights regularly and check they’re working by making use of reflections, whether they’re in windows or against the garage door. We’d also suggest carrying a few spare bulbs, just in case.
Screen wash: The roads tend to get a little filthy during the winter, with a mixture of rain, ice, mud and salt splashing up against the windscreen. When the sun is beaming down from ahead, the last thing you need is a glazed screen with no washer fluid. Make sure to check your screen wash is topped up every morning and use a 50 per cent mix of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of it freezing in frosty weather.
Tyres: These four pieces of rubber are crucial to your safety on the road. Without tyres, you wouldn’t be getting anywhere fast and they’re designed to keep the car firmly planted on the road. But, if they’re not taken care of, they won’t do their job properly. Always remember that your tyres should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring and make sure to check pressures at least every fortnight.
Remember, it’s always best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. So, just in case anything should go wrong, keep an emergency winter pack for every journey in the boot. We’d advise carrying a blanket, a first aid kit, an in-car charger, a road atlas, spare bulbs, an umbrella, an extra thick jacket and water.
Stay alert and keep safe.