Your car is put through added strain when you drive during winter, which means you need to follow these tips to protect both your vehicle and yourself.
Your car’s cooling system needs a healthy amount of antifreeze. Check your handbook to see where the level should be, and refill if necessary.
Colder temperatures affect your battery, especially if you don’t drive regularly. Get it tested if you notice any signs of failure – you don’t want to be stuck with a dead battery.
Firstly, make sure all your lights are working, including the hazards. Secondly, check the light lenses haven’t sustained any damage. If there are any scratches, have them repaired. You should also consider carrying spare bulbs.
Any rattles, shakes, or squeals should be cause for concern, as should any noticeable increase in stopping distance. Remember, you’ll need your brakes more on icy roads.
If the tread is low, the sidewalls damaged, or if there’s any other sign of damage, you need to have your tyres changed. You might also consider winter tyres – they are designed to ensure proper traction and durability in freezing temperatures. All-season tyres might sound fine, but they aren’t nearly as effective.
Replace wiper blades just before winter, and top up your washer fluid with winter-mixture screen wash – carry additional screen wash in case you get stuck.
Snow Chains or Mats
If you live somewhere that gets plenty of snow, toss a couple of chains in your boot, and make sure you actually know how to fit them and drive with them. You can also carry some mats to provide added traction if you’re caught in the snow.
Paint and Metalwork
The grit used to de-ice roads contains salt, so it can cause corrosion. If there’s any chips or damage across the body of your vehicle, have them touched up.
Finally, you might want to think about prepping your car for winter with a survival kit, just in case you happen to get stranded. You can buy pre-made ones, but it’s often easier to put one together yourself. Make sure it includes:
- Spare Bulbs
- Strong Tow Strap
- Jump Leads
- High-Vis Vest
- Warm Clothes
- Phone Charger
- Bottled Water
- Nutritional Snacks
- Small Shovel
It might seem like a slightly dramatic course of action, but it’s always better to be prepared when you’re driving during the dead of winter.