How to get your car ready for winter
Check your screenwash bottle and top up regularly. A lot of dirt and grime ends up on the windscreen during the winter months so having plenty of screenwash will help to maintain your view. Use a mixture of at least 50% undiluted screenwash in your bottle to prevent the liquid freezing.
You should also make sure your windscreen wipers are in good working order. It can be difficult to see when driving in conditions such as snow and fog. Don’t make your journey any harder than it already is this winter by having a dirty windscreen that you can’t clear due to damaged wipers.
It feels like it gets dark as soon as we wake up when it’s winter, so properly-functioning headlights, brake lights, fog lights, and indicators are absolutely essential.
Check all your lights are working and clean them regularly. Dirt can easily build up on your headlights, hindering your vision of the road and potential hazards.
Ensure that you replace blown bulbs as soon as possible. Not only is this an instant MOT fail but other road users may not be able to see you clearly in wintry conditions.
The weather throughout the winter days tends to cycle between really cold and moderate. This variation in temperature causes the rubber in tyres to expand and contract which, in turn, can lead to the rubber splitting or changes in tyre pressure.
For this reason, it’s crucial to check your tyres every few weeks in winter.
Adequate tread is critical to help tyres grip cold icy roads and to avoid aquaplaning. We recommend making sure you have at least 3mm of tread on all your tyres – the more tread you have, the shorter your stopping distance will be on cold, wet, or icy roads. If you do a lot of winter driving, consider fitting all-season or winter tyres for added grip and control in the snow.
Coolant is stored in a bottle near the engine and is usually a bright pink or blue colour – check your vehicle handbook if you are having trouble finding it.
Coolant, also known as antifreeze, protects your engine from extreme cold temperatures by raising the freezing point of the fluids within. If the fluids in your engine were to freeze and expand, the engine block could crack, causing serious and costly damage.
We advise that you check your coolant level regularly and top up if necessary.
if your car battery is more than 5 years old, have it checked regularly to ensure it carries on working effectively.
Batteries naturally lose their charging capability over time but during the winter, the cold takes its toll and a fully charged battery is weakened by about 35%. Batteries are the number 1 cause of breakdowns, so if you’ve been having trouble starting the car lately, get your battery checked before winter really hits.
… Before you set off on any kind of winter trip, whether it be a long drive to visit the grandparents on the other side of the country, or just popping down the road to the shops, stash a few essential items in your car now so that you are prepared for any eventuality. Here’s a handy checklist:
- Phone charger
- Ice scraper & screenwash
- Warm clothes like gloves & blankets to keep warm if you get stuck waiting at the side of the road
- Wet weather gear like wellies & an umbrella in case you need to leave your vehicle
- Snow shovel & rock salt to manage snow around tyres if you get stuck
- Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
- Visibility aids like hi-vis jacket and a warning triangle
- Car jack & locking wheel nut key should you need to change a tyre
- Torch and batteries
- First-aid kit
- Jump leads
- Vehicle handbook