Preparing your Car for Winter

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The summer sun is hiding away and there is definitely a chill in the morning air, which means winter is on the way. Follow our tips on how to prepare your car for winter and make sure your car doesn’t feel the cold, even if you do.

1. Take Care of your Battery

In winter there are more battery faults than any other kind of breakdown. There is more demand on your battery due to the increased use of heaters, windscreen wipers etc. The battery also cannot hold its charge for as long in the cold, and its ability to recharge is also compromised. If your car lays dormant for some days over Christmas, the battery is also likely to need some help getting started. If your battery is over five years old or struggling to start even in warmer weather, consider replacing it before winter comes. Invest in a battery charger or jump leads. And make sure you turn everything off when not in use.

2. Check Your Coolant Regularly

Throughout the year, the coolant level in your car should remain between the minimum and maximum markers. But this becomes even more important in winter. Make sure you check your coolant levels regularly, preferably every week – but only do so when the engine is cold. This will stop the risk of burns and give you a more accurate reading. Top up your coolant with the correct mix of anti-freeze to ensure effective operation of your engine. However, a significant drop in levels is a strong indicator of a leak which needs professional attention.

3. Assess Your Tyres

Though the legal limit for tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm, in winter it is more advisable to keep a 3mm, or at least a 2mm tread on all tyres. In very harsh conditions consider investing in winter tyres or snow chains to maintain a strong traction on the road. Check your tyre treads regularly and replace tyres that are starting to thin. Look out for bulges or significant reductions in tyre pressure which could be an indicator of a problem.

4. Get the Right Screen Wash

In the summer months many drivers will opt for a cheaper screen wash, or even dilute their existing wash to reduce costs. However, as the temperature drops, it is vital to use a screen wash that is suitable for the climate. Look for a brand that offers protection for the coldest temperature you are likely to experience, not while the car is running but in the dead of night when it is dormant. Weak or unreliable screen wash could allow your washer pump to freeze which could damage your electrics and reduce your visibility when driving.

5. Be Gentle With Your Wipers

If you see any signs of wear on your wipers replace them straight away. Make sure you don’t use your wipers to clear away ice from your windscreen in the mornings. Instead, treat them with care and they will give you greater visibility whatever the weather.

Winter care for your car doesn’t have to take very long. Take these few steps and you can keep a happy motor all year round.