Are you ready for winter?
Between October and March the average temperature in the UK can drop below 7°C (Met Office). This combined with rain, ice, fog, snow and high winds can make driving more hazardous. So is vital to ensure your as prepared as you can be.
The key areas of your car that need to be maintained and checked during the winter months are:
Screen Wash; It’s essential that you have the correct screen wash for the weather conditions, during winter you should use a higher concentration fluid. Check the instructions on the bottle for concentration levels against predicted temperatures. Or if you use premixed screen wash ensure you do not dilute it.
Cooling System; Anti-freeze should be added to your vehicle's cooling system according to the manufacturer's specification. If the cooling system warning light is illuminated, turn off your engine immediately. Once the engine has reached a safe temperature, check how much coolant there is in the reservoir. If it's below the minimum level you'll need to top it up - always do so with the correct anti-freeze solution as per manufacturing specification, this will be different depending on the season.
Windscreen & Windows; Keep your windscreen and windows clear. Clear any snow from the roof as well as from windows as this can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view. It can be a hazard to other road users as well. Use lukewarm water or de-icer to defrost the outside of your vehicle. You should never use hot or boiling water.
Lights; Ensure all your lights are clean and working.
Tyres; We recommend at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring, and certainly no less than 2mm. Make sure yours tyres are correctly inflated. Consider changing to winter or all season tyres – these have a higher silica content in the tread which prevents it hardening at lower temperatures, and therefore gives better grip in cold wet conditions. We stock a wide range of tyres, call our team on 01473 209105 for details.
Battery; Winter puts more strain on a battery so ensure yours is ready for the season:
- Switch off all loads including lights, wipers, heater etc before switching off your engine at the end of your journey. This prevents any unnecessary drain on the battery the next time you start up. Check that everything is switched off before turning the ignition on.
- Avoid using heaters, heated screens and heated seats for longer than you have to as they all put high demands on the vehicle’s battery. Some satnavs, in-car DVD players and iPods can also drain the battery if left connected.
- Park your vehicle in a garage whenever possible
- Get your battery tested, particularly if it is over three years old.
We can check your car is ready for winter, with our winter health check to book click here or call 01473 209105.
- Plan ahead and allow enough time to reach your destination. Get up at least 10 minutes earlier to give you time to prepare the car.
- At low speeds use second rather than first gear to avoid spinning the wheels.
- Reduce your speed on slippery surfaces and avoid harsh braking or acceleration.
- Increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front – in rain, ice and snow leave enough space to stop safely.
- Put together an emergency kit – such as an Ice Scraper, Anti-freeze, food, drink, a reflective jacket, a torch and extra clothing for journeys in severe winter weather, keep it in the back of your car.Plan routes to favour major roads which are more likely to have been cleared and gritted.