Get your car winter ready
With the weather getting colder and roads getting icier it’s important to keep your car in good order to avoid accidents and breakdowns. Here are some basic tips to see you through the winter months:
- Check and clean your lights
It’s harder to see in fog, heavy rain and snow so check all exterior lights, full beam headlights fog lights and indicators. Make sure they are clean and replace any bulbs if necessary. It’s important that you can see and can be seen by others on the road.
2.Keep your windscreen and windows clean
Clean your windscreen inside and out making sure you use car glass specific cleaner. Check your wipers for nicks and tears by running your finger along the blades. To help avoid smearing clean them using some tissue dipped in neat screen wash. Top-up screen wash fluid with anti-freeze.
Use warm water (not boiling!) to defrost your windows. Check your windscreen for any chips and cracks as these can become bigger in cold weather.
3.Check the condition of your tyres
It is essential your tyres are in a good condition. Check your tyre pressure at least once a week. Also check the thread depth regularly. The legal minimum is 1.6mm but for good grip on wet roads its best to replace tyres once the thread depth is 2.0mm. You can easily check your thread depth by using a 20p coin (see illustration below).
4. Check under your bonnet.
Check your liquid levels-coolant, oil and screen wash. Make sure they are between minimum and maximum level at all times.
During the winter months your battery comes under a lot of strain. The cold temperatures reduce output and the increased use of lights, heater etc. adds more pressure. Check it is tight and has not corroded. You can buy battery testers from garages.
5. Carry on emergency kit
It is good practice to carry an emergency kit at all times especially during the winter months. A car emergency kit should include:
- Foldable shovel
- Jump leads
- Ice scraper
- Hi-vis jacket
- First aid kit
- Tow rope
6. Drive carefully and plan your journey
Drive slowly, smoothly and gently. Accelerate and decelerate smoothly. Increase your distance from the vehicle in front
Check the weather and plan your journey allowing for extra time to avoid rushing. Make sure you have plenty of fuel. During extremely bad weather only drive if it is absolutely essential.
Most garages provide a professional winter service which is free or heavily discounted. They will check all of the above and likely more. Contact your local garage and drive safe.