The Winter Checklist – Preparations for Winter Driving
Winter Driving Tips
With winter now setting in, in earnest, our vehicles are due to be more exposed to the elements and more susceptible to long-term damage unless we do something about it. If your car has been subtly building up faults, then this is the season when they’ll probably be coming to a head with snow and ice leading invariably to cold and damp, both of which can be devastating for cars. And that’s before we even begin to mention the road salt and grime and what kind of impact that can have.
Thankfully, there are quite a few small checks you can make without involving the mechanics that can help your car remain free from faults all season. Think of it as a winter car checklist that you should be going through every November.
Any failure to ensure your car is in top fighting condition for winter could void your warranty so it’s always a good idea to run any queries past credited providers such as Warrantywise. You should also check on your specific plan but even if you’re covered it’s certainly worthwhile spending just a few minutes confirming that your car is ready for the season ahead.
Car battery – If your battery is old and lagging then a particularly cold winter could finish it off! If you’ve not been using your car much recently then this is even more likely to happen. If your car is taking longer to start than it once did or you‘ve noticed it struggling to start if you don’t use it for a few days then you might need a new battery.
Antifreeze – This is the substance that prevents the water in your engine from freezing up. To check whether your antifreeze is working, buy an antifreeze tester tube and lower it into your engine coolant system.
Screenwash – Winter brings with it lots of damp and this means you’ll probably be using your windscreen wipers a lot. With the grime and muck on the roads spraying up into the front of the car, this can also mean you’re essentially smearing it into the windscreen if your screenwash is empty. And that’s certainly an unsafe driving practice.
Wiper blades – Older blades won’t work as effectively as their newer alternatives so if yours haven’t been changed in a while it might be something worth seeing to.
Lights – Winter means longer and darker nights and that also means you’ll be relying on your lights more. Check your front and rear lights as well as your indicators to ensure they’re in working order and then move on to your fog lights. Note that you might need somebody else to help you out with the rear lights.
Tyres – Your tyres are the only part of the car that’s going to be making direct contact with the road and in the winter months when the roads are more slippery, grip and traction are vital. This means checking on your tyre tread using a tread depth gauge (or a simple 20p piece) to check that the outer band of the treads is at least 1.6mm thick.