Winter can be a tough season for buildings and wildlife – and it can also wreak havoc on your vehicle. Icy temperatures and stormy weather can be a huge problem for motorists – and in fact breakdowns double over the winter months. It’s never more important to check your tyres and battery at this time of year, especially if you have a long journey ahead or snow and ice is forecast.
Nevertheless, with a few basic checks and ongoing winter maintenance, car problems can be avoided. Here are the essential winter car checks every motorist should carry out regularly.
Top up the anti-freeze
The vehicle’s engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze. However, over time the anti-freeze can get diluted if people take a shortcut of topping it up with water. It’s essential that the car has enough anti-freeze for a cold snap, or you could face a nasty bill for an over-heated engine.
Check all lights
Being seen is essential in the dark winter days and nights. Ask somebody to check all your bulbs are working as you test them in the driver’s seat. Don’t forget to check the fog lights, which you might need. You should also check over the exterior of the lights to make sure there are no cracks or heavy stains on the lenses.
Check tyre conditions
Depending on where you live, you might make the decision to put on winter tyres for the cold season. If not, you still need to make sure your current tyres are suitable for the freezing weather. The tread depth should be no lower than 3mm for good grip, and you should also check the tyre pressure is correct. Your tyres and brakes are your best defence in a road accident.
Don’t ignore battery problems
A car battery is placed under increased pressure in winter, due to lights and heaters being used more often. Cold temperatures can also intensify the problem, so if you think your battery is having trouble starting the car, get it checked out as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than a flat battery when you need to be somewhere.
Get a winter service
A winter service can get all of these essentials checked for you – by a professional. It also includes other important checks such as the brake pads. It may seem like additional effort, but booking a winter service could save you cash in the future if you suffer a breakdown.