Winter is getting on, and the talk is that we will be in for some cold spells. Cold weather can really impact your car, stressing joints and parts.vBut a few simple ways to prepare your car can save you from the cost and hassle of a breakdown – or worse.
We asked Cameron, one of JustAnswer’s top Car Experts, for advice. Here are his top tips to help your car – and you – survive another winter.
- Check the mechanics, or arrange your servicing so that a garage can do this for you. Cold can make rubber go brittle, so don’t forget brakes and engine hoses. Your battery will work harder in cold weather; check it is charging properly and in good health. Old batteries may not last long in harsh conditions. You could make sure your air filters are changed – these help prevent leaves and other debris from getting into the heating and air conditioning systems.
- Ensure your windscreen wipers are in good health. Check the wear on the blades – and in frosty weather, NEVER turn on your wipers while the ignition is on. They could freeze in the “on” position and fuse, leaving you unable to see.
- Fill up your windscreen washer with anti-freeze screenwash. Nothing is worse than being caught short, unable to rid your screen of ice and frost while time ticks on and you can’t get going. And while a credit card will just about do the job of clearing an icy windscreen, ideally you’d use a scraper – so make sure you have one in your car.
- Check your anti-freeze level and strength to make sure you have plenty, and that the blend suits your car. Anti-freeze will keep your fluids from freezing and also helps to prevent rust and corrosion.
- Cast your eye over your tyres. Slippery roads require more grip, and you want to be sure your tyres are in good health, with correct tread depths. Even in a cold British winter, you are not likely to need snow chains – but you might want to consider having some in place, just in case we do get a lot of snow. You’ll also need to make sure your tyres are at the correct pressure, and be aware that tyres can harden and lose road traction under 5°C.
- Don’t forget your oil. If temperatures in your area regularly dip below freezing, you should consider a “winter” oil, which is thinner and specifically calibrated for low temperatures.
- “See and be seen” are the watchwords for road usage. Check all your bulbs work – not forgetting brake lights, fog lights and indicators. You could ask a passenger to do this, or check for yourself in mirrors or shop windows.
- If the weather forecast gets really bad, put boots, torch, shovel and warm clothing into your car boot. Snow can come down quickly when it begins and it doesn’t take long for roads to become blocked if the timing is bad. If temperatures go significantly below freezing, consider buying a lock defroster to save time when you start your journey.
Driving in ice and snow is tricky if you are not used to it but following these simple steps will allow you to feel confident in your vehicle – and giving your car a little love now as the cold weather bites will really pay dividends in the future.
Still worried about the effects of winter on your car? Have specific questions about your Vauxhall, Hyundai, Toyota, BMW, or Ford? We have specialist Car Experts for just about every car make and model in the world, ready to answer your questions 24/7.