Preparing your car for the winter

It’s that time of year again! The weather may not yet have thrown its worst at us, but as the last year has shown with the “Beast from the East” followed by an unprecedented long, hot summer, we need to be prepared for anything!

At the start of the autumn this means getting your car ready for winter driving.

The checklist includes making sure it has an annual service. Many of the problems caused by the cold can be prevented if you do this.

Battery: the average life of a battery is about five years, and the battery comes under additional strain not only from the cold weather but from heavier use of lights, heater and blower.

Tyres: a good tread is essential for efficient braking and steering, so they need to be at the correct pressure as well as having sufficient depth of tread.

Antifreeze: engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze and this can easily become diluted if you have topped up the system with water over the year. Don’t forget the screen wash – a good quality 50% mix of screen wash will reduce the chance of freezing when it is particularly icy.

Windscreen and wipers: give the windscreen a thorough clean both inside and out. Any smears can cause visibility problems when light shines on them.  Wipers will get heavier use during the winter so make sure the wiper blades are in good condition with no nicks and tears.

Lights: these, too, need to be cleaned.

Underseal: when the roads are gritted in icy conditions many don’t realise that the grit contains salt. This can cause damage to the car’s bodywork, so you should also check for scratches and dents in the paintwork to ensure it is not vulnerable to damp getting through to the metal and setting up the conditions for rust to develop.

If you are driving in the winter the advice is to carry a winter emergency breakdown kit with you. This should contain a shovel, blanket, warm coat, torch and for long journeys a hot drink in a flask and a fully topped-up mobile phone.

If you want to avoid all the winter check hassle, you can always rent a vehicle from us. While we can’t supply a personalised winter breakdown kit we do make sure that all our vehicles have been properly checked and prepared for winter driving.