Preparing Your Car Winter Driving
Preparing Your Car Winter Driving.
With temperatures set to grow colder soon, it’s important to ensure that your car is safely prepared. While most of these winter car checks are similar to the normal checks that you should be making throughout the year, there are a few that need extra attention. Read on to find out how to best maintain and prepare your vehicle in time for the chillier months ahead.
Check Your Car Battery
The first step to winter-proofing your car is to check your car battery. Weakened or damaged car batteries are one of the main causes of winter breakdowns – consider testing your car’s battery, searching for any signs of corrosion on the terminals, or have it inspected by a professional who can offer repair or replacement advice.
Check Your Lights
When driving in dark and often hazy winter conditions, your car lights are crucial for yours and your passenger’s safety. Make sure all of the lights in your vehicle are in working order, including headlights, high beams, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard flashers. Lenses should also be cleaned to ensure that your lights are easily visible to other drivers.
Check Your Windscreen Wipers
During the winter months, roads will be frequently damp meaning you’ll be using your windscreen wipers more than usual. When windscreen wipers are old or worn, they will not work effectively or safely. If your windscreen wipers are looking worn out, do not hesitate to replace them either by yourself or by a professional as soon as possible. If you live in an area where climates get extremely cold, ensure that you are using windscreen wiper fluid that won’t freeze over in cold weather.
Check your Windows
While cleaning your car window is something that you frequently do regardless of the season, the likes of dirt and low sun can affect visibility levels during winter. Remember to thoroughly clean windows inside and out, check for cracks, and always carry a pair of sunglasses in your car.
As its name suggests, antifreeze prevents the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing, so you’ll need to ensure it’s ready to stand up to winter temperatures. You can easily check the effectiveness of your antifreeze with an inexpensive antifreeze tester. You’ll also need to remember to check the systems for any leaks.
Brakes and brake fluid that are in excellent working condition can help prevent accidents from dangerous winter conditions, such as snow and slippery ice. As moisture from the snow and rust spots from salt can reduce how well your brakes work, it’s wise to have them inspected and serviced at the start of the season, and possibly again during midwinter.
It’s also essential to check that your tyres are in good working condition and to ensure that the tread depth is at least 1.6.mm around the whole circumference in the inside three quarters. To avoid any further issues, check that your tyres are at the correct pressure. If your tyres have seen better days, it may be time to replace them before the first frost or snowfall.
Consider Winter Tyres
As your vehicle’s tyres are critical for both safety and navigation, you may want to consider investing in a winter set that can secure your vehicle to the ground to prevent any winter road dangers such as skidding. It’s important to note that winter tyres are not only suitable for extreme weather such as snow, hail, or ice, but also for dryer conditions. Strong winter tires will help to keep you and your loved ones safe with improved control, traction, as well as shorter stopping distances.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Winter weather can often be unpredictable, so you may find yourself in a situation you hadn’t planned for. For peace of mind, it’s a good idea to stock your car up with emergency essentials and useful tools should a breakdown occur. While it seems like a given, always carry a fully charged mobile phone with you while driving in the winter so that you can call for breakdown help or advice if you need it.
Tyre inflators, ice scrapers, de-icing salt, snow chains, snow socks, snow shovels, warm clothing, blankets, torches, energy-boosting food and snacks and a first aid kit are also among the recommended items that you should have in your car when setting out for wintry journeys. Of course, you may not need all of these items, but it helps to be proactive with what could potentially go wrong in extreme winter weather.
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