Is your car winter ready?

30 January 2021 / Motasoft Administrator

Is your car winter ready?

Winter is fast approaching and this means you have to make your car ready for it. We all know what winter brings and a few minutes of car maintenance can help us get through the worst of what this season can bring. 

Winter brings about the poorest of weather conditions. Pair it with dropping temperatures and you’ve got a great recipe for car breakdowns along the way. 

So even before the coolest of seasons takes hold of us all, do not get caught off guard. Set aside a time in your busy life to do a bit of basic vehicle maintenance so that you can drive safely during winter and let your vehicle see you through to the next season.

Tips on how to make your car winter ready

Book a service. Keeping your car in great driving condition means you have to regularly check it. If your vehicle is due for a service, book it before winter comes in. 

The most basic car service will include around 31 checks which includes oil and filter change and a general health check of the main components on your car. The intermediate car service is recommended every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever one comes sooner. It is a comprehensive service with 49 checks that includes the replacement of engine air filter, oil, oil filter, pollen filter and other extensive range of checks to ensure the roadworthiness of your vehicle. The best car service, on the other hand, is recommended every 24,000 miles or 24 months and covers everything included in the intermediate car service plus the items that are regularly recommended for replacement every 2 years such as spark plugs or fuel filter, as well as the replacement of brake fluid and antifreeze, if needed.

Inspect your car battery. This is one of the first things you should check. During the cold season, your car battery is subjected to double exposure to extreme temperatures which decreases its normal energy output. Add the fact that the usage of blower, lights and heater are increased, putting your battery in further strain.

Depending on the brand and your usage, the lifespan of batteries is said to be around 5 years and if you seem to have difficulties having your car started, your battery needs to be checked or even replaced if the conditions call for it. 

Check what’s under the hood. Inspect the level of engine coolant in your reservoir and top it up with a 50/50 mix of antifreeze solution and water if necessary. This solution tends to dilute over time. To obtain the maximum effectivity, the engine coolant with antifreeze should be changed regularly every 2 to 3 years. 

Another thing to inspect is the concentration of the antifreeze. Is the level adequate to keep your engine working? Is it leaking? If it is leaking, you may have been topping it up with water, which is not advisable. Water can over dilute the antifreeze solution and make it susceptible to freezing during winter. This may lead to overheating and huge expenses on repair works. 

If you are unsure one what to do, you can always call an expert from the auto garage. If you prefer to check it on your own, you can purchase a tester from them too. 

Do a visual inspection of your batteries too. Make sure the terminals are not corroded and secure. Prevent car breakdown in winter by avoiding flat batteries. Go easy on your battery by not switching the heaters, blowers and headlights immediately on when the engine has just been started.

Inspect your tyres. The condition of your tyres is very important. So that your tyres will have a better grip, make sure that they are properly inflated and they have a legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. You can also switch your summer tyres to winter tyres so you can have a better driving experience in ice or snow slush.

Check your lights. So that you can clearly see what’s ahead of you amidst heavy rain, snow, fog, mist or night time, it is vital to check your lights. Are your fog lights, headlights, rear reflectors and indicators working? Do you have blown bulbs? Are their lenses cracked? Check if they are clean and in good working condition. 

If one of your bulbs is not working, replace it immediately. Changing your bulbs is pretty easy but if you prefer the services of an expert, all you need to prepare a small fee to have it done. 

Clean your windscreen, windows and wipers. Driving with poor visibility is hazardous. Make it a habit to use a recommended cleaner to clean your windscreen, windows and wipers. 

If your wipers are broken, replace them immediately. To keep them from smearing your windscreen, wipe them with screen wash. Check the washer reservoir too and don’t forget to top it up with windscreen washer fluid with antifreeze properties.

Prepare for every journey. Before you even head out for a drive, check out the weather forecasts, read the travel news and find out the safest routes to take. Do not rush. Just drive safely.  Make sure you have an extra antifreeze, de-icer and scraper in your car too.

In cases of emergency, keeping an emergency or winter car breakdown kit will surely come in handy. Your emergency checklist may include any of the following: jump leads, screenwash, torch, high visibility vest, shovel, bottled water, food, snow grips for shoes, extra clothing, extra blanket, a fully charged mobile phone or extra phone.

Other important things to check. These things are also important no matter what season it is. 

  • Always keep a quarter of a tank of fuel handy. 

  • Check your oil level. 

  • Check your brake pads, brake discs and brake fluid.

  • Check your fan belt and alternator drive belts.

If you are unsure on how to do these vehicle checks, you may call the vehicle experts of Automax in Swindon on 01793 979034 or complete their contact form.