How to Get Your Car Winter Ready
As temperatures begin to fall and the days get darker, it’s time to start thinking about getting your car ready for winter. A properly maintained car can weather winter temperatures and now is the perfect time to start preparing. Here is a list of four things you can do to make sure your car is winter-ready and reduce your risk of a breakdown.
If you hear a continuous squealing sound when you start the engine, this is a clear sign that the water pump is frozen and possibly the cylinder block too. Stop the engine immediately and allow it to thaw out. This may take several days unless the car can be moved into a heated garage.
If the car begins to overheat a few miles from home it’s likely that the radiator has frozen preventing coolant from circulating. Stop straight away to avoid serious damage and allow the radiator to thaw. Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze, however it’s important to use the right type for your car and avoid mixing different types. Check your car handbook or ask a dealer to find out which type your vehicle needs.
Lights & Fuel
Check that all the light bulbs are working and that headlights are clean and aimed correctly. All external lights should be cleaned regularly, especially when roads are salted.
Don’t let the fuel levels drop too much as you risk your fuel tank freezing. Make sure to fill up before you set off on a long journey and if you do get stuck at least you’ll be able to stay warm!
Winter driving can be more draining on your car battery as you’ll be using your lights, heaters and wipers much more than you would at other times of the year. While this isn’t a major cause of concern if your battery is in good condition, where your car battery is older (on average batteries rarely last longer than 5 years) or you have found your car slow to start on occasion this additional power usage may be too much for your battery to handle.
Replacing one near the end of its life can save a lot of time and inconvenience at the side of the road. Meanwhile, being energy conscious during your driving can also help your battery. For example, avoid running electrical systems any longer than necessary – turn the heater fan down and switch the heated rear window off once windows are clear.
Check your Tyres
It is imperative that your tyres are in good condition and of a legal tread depth, to withstand driving on wet or icy roads in winter. While the legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, we recommend at least 3mm of tread for winter driving. To learn top tips for checking and changing your tyres, check out our tyre safety blog!
Now that you know some of the basics of keeping your car safe in winter, don’t forget the most important check – making sure your car is fully insured.
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