Is Your Car Staycation Ready this Winter?

30 January 2021 /

Winter can be a very tough time for us all, including our cars. As the cold and dark nights slowly creep in and challenging driving conditions, a rise in car breakdowns usually occurs during this time of the year. This can be particularly hard for inexperienced drivers. 

To decrease the chances of having a breakdown during winter, you need to take extra precautions and perform regular basic checks. If you are new to this, don’t fret. We’ve compiled a simple list that you can use so that you will be ready no matter what. 

Schedule a car servicing before winter arrives. If you want to keep your car in the best possible condition by the time the chill of winter is upon us, regular car servicing must be done. A car servicing will help determine the present condition of your car, identify some issues that could possibly affect your driving in harsh conditions and minimise the risk of you experiencing a breakdown. Here in the UK, the major cause of car breakdowns is due to battery failure. 

The most basic car servicing package may cost around £100 and more if you include an engine oil change, oil filter change, air and pollen filter change, fuel filter change, spark plug change and replacement of antifreeze. If your car needs a repair, it will be an additional cost on top of the car servicing fee, so you need to take note of that.

Check your coolant level. Your engine coolant will help your car engine survive the harsh temperatures of winter. If the level is below the minimum what is required, top it up with a 50-50 mix of antifreeze solution and water. 

What does antifreeze do? It actually prevents the water in your cooling system from freezing. As you already know, freezing water tends to expand and this expansion may cause significant damage to your engine. Aside from that, antifreeze also helps decrease the buildup of corrosion and scale inside your pipes. 

Examine your battery. As we have mentioned earlier, battery failure is a common cause of car breakdowns in the UK. This can be avoided if regular battery checks are made. During winter, the cold temperature keeps your battery from performing it’s best. In some cases, you may experience a flat battery, which will prevent the car engine from starting up. Check out your battery terminals too. They should be tightly secured to the battery and must be free from rust or corrosion. 

When parking your car, place it in a sheltered area if you can so you can keep the battery warm. You can also invest in a car cover to add an extra layer of protection. 

Inspect your headlights. We all know that driving in winter is dark and harsh, which is why you should always keep your headlights in tiptop condition. If they are dirty, your headlights won’t be able to adequately light up the road ahead of you. Dirty headlights will also make it difficult for other drivers to see you. We can all agree that this is a driving hazard that should be prevented at all cost and is easily solved with a clean cloth and soapy water.

Wipe your windows and windscreen clean. Clear visibility is crucial when driving in winter but in reality, we all drive on wet and dirty roads and in low sunlight so our visibility can be compromised. So that you can maintain the optimal visibility, it is essential to clean your windows and windscreen very thoroughly. Top up your wiper fluid and use a screenwash to clear away dirt and debris at least once a week.

Check out the condition of your windscreen too. Does it have chips or cracks? If yes, have it replaced as soon as you can, the frost can cause this to damage further. 

Examine the condition of your wiper blades. If your wiper blades are in bad condition, they will leave ugly streaks or smears across the windscreen, squeak or even judder when being used. Those are signs that you need to replace them. 

Feel the edge of your wiper blades using your fingertips. If it is smooth, just clean it with soapy water to avoid streaks and smears but if it has small tears and nicks, it is time to have it replaced.

Make your tyre winter-ready. When driving in snowy conditions, using winter tyres is essential. They are specially designed to have better grip on wet road conditions. 

Check your tyre tread depth. The entire circumference must be at least 1.6mm. If it is below 3mm, have your tyres replaced immediately. Always check this regularly because driving with bald tyres will cost you a fine of up to £2,500 for each defective tyre and 3 penalty points from your licence. 

Always bring an emergency kit with you. Going on a staycation might require you to drive in harsh weather conditions and you better be ready for any situation. Before starting your journey, check out the weather conditions and map out your route. Keep your car fuel full or at least a quarter of a tank full to avoid running out of fuel if there are delays along the road. Avoid tailgating and drive slowly. 

Just in case you encounter any type of emergency, it is best to be prepared. So, what should you pack in your emergency kit? You can include food, water, a spare set of clothes to keep you warm, blanket, fully-charged power bank, tool kit, tyre pressure gauge, jump leads, shovel, coolant, de-icer, and scraper. You can add more items on the list if you need to. 

Contact  Automax today to book your car in before you head off for your winter getaway.