5 Things You Should Do To Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Posted by: Dan on 5/04/2016

Category: Community

5 Things You Should Do To Get Your Car Ready for Winter


While most people love summer at the beaches and around the BBQ, all the heat and humidity can take a toll on cars and the roads they drive on. In the best conditions, Australian cars and roads can offer some of the finest driving in the world, but as the cooler months approach, it's important to assess and winterise your car accordingly.

Here are the top 5 things you should do to get your car ready for winter.

1. Assess what damage has been done from summer

To start preparing your car for winter, you need examine how it has been driven and maintained throughout the summer. The inspection should be pretty straightforward – cars built for Australian roads are tough and hard-wearing after all, but attention should still be paid to your car’s most-used surfaces, such as your tyres.

Make sure no cracks or holes have developed after a long summer spent ambling over the hot gravel while trying to find a spot at the beach. If you do notice any damage to your tyres, either patch them or purchase a new ones before the cooler months set in.

Also look carefully for any damage to the decal or any gaps or holes in your car’s exterior. You may think you would have noticed if your car had sustained any damage while driving, but as a recent survey by carcare.org found, 86% of cars on the roads are in need of some form of service or repair.

In the summer months, the warm conditions can be more forgiving of these imperfections, but when the rain and moisture of the winter months arrive, the potential for rust to quickly develop increases, so inspect your car’s surface carefully.

2. Check your car's fluids

As you’re preparing your car for the change of seasons, it’s an ideal time to check over your fluids. Though it varies from model to model, oil, coolant, water for your windscreen, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid are common things to check in every vehicle. Beyond that, consult your car manual to see if there are any other liquids you need top off.

Speaking of fluids, get some toothpaste (mixed with a little water) and rub it over your front windscreen, both inside and out. Coating a glass surface with toothpaste prevents it from fogging, so doing this will give you a fog-free view throughout the winter. Rear windows usually have a demist function, so doing this at the back of your car is likely not necessary.

3. Pack your car with winter equipment

If your heater breaks down or you encounter engine trouble, standing in the winter cold as you explain to roadside assistance what happened under the bonnet can be unpleasant, to say the least. Make sure you keep a warm jacket, thermals, water, and energy bars in your car boot, in case you should find yourself in that situation.

Despite the fun Mad Max depictions, Australia is one of the most heavily-urbanised countries in the world – so while you’re unlikely to ever encounter car trouble and be too far from help, having some supplies on hand will keep you warm and well-fed until the tow truck arrives.

4. Rotate your tyres and consider buying snow chains

With each season comes a good opportunity to rotate your tyres. The process doesn’t take long to complete, but it lengthens the life of your tyres significantly. Doing so ensures that your tyres share equally in the wear and tear that occurs over time, allowing you to easily replace a set all at once (rather than having to constantly change them one at a time).

While daily driving in an area that regularly requires snow chains is a rarity in Australia, there are many Australians who use winter weekends to take trips to a holiday home in the colder peaks of the continent. So rather than risk getting stuck in the snow – and missing out on quality time skiing –  look to invest in a pair of snow chains if your winter driving will involve some heavy snow conditions.

5. Service your brakes (and warm them up each morning)

In the warmer months, your brakes are more flexible and forgiving in an emergency. When winter comes, this changes, since with less heat around the brake pads, they’re stiffer and less responsive. So, before grey clouds become a frequent feature of your early mornings, make sure you get your brakes checked and serviced.

It's also important to get your brakes ready each day before you begin your driving. All this consists of is simply turning on the engine a few minutes before you set out, and pumping the brake pedal with your foot a few times to begin heating up the car and its components. Although in an emergency the car will still drive fine on an instant start, getting into this habit will reduce strain on your engine and loosen up the brakes from the cold.

Winterising your car can take just a couple of hours, and will have you fully prepared to weather the season ahead. Not only will this guard against mishaps on the road, but it will decrease the odds you’ll need to make a visit to the mechanic beyond your annual service.

The last thing to do? Put a roof rack on your car for your ski trips, and be sure to make the most of the cold.

Have you already began preparing your car for the cooler months? What tips do you have for winterising your car? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Pixabay