Keeping your car road-ready in winter

Posted by: Cal on 26/06/2014

Category: General

Winter has hit, and it's important to check on your car to make sure that she's happily chugging along despite the sudden temperature drops.

Set some time aside to give you car a look over - this shouldn't take more than an hour. It's a great way to avoid having any nasty problems arise over the season, especially ones that you could have prevented.

Although regular fitness checks should be carried out by professionals, car owners can easily review a number of features themselves - here's how.

Wheels and tyres

Regardless of season, it's important to keep a close eye on your tyres. Check on the tread and the inflation of each tyre. If the tread is worn down, the tyre will struggle to remove the water as you travel across wet roads, which is very dangerous for drivers - water prevents tyres from gripping the road which can lead to aquaplaning and an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if the tread is less than 1/16 inches, the tyre should be replaced.

If you're in an area prone to snow, you may consider snow tyres as these will help to ensure ultimate traction on the roads. 

Battery

Overheated batteries are a key concern for drivers no matter what the season, and don't be fooled into thinking the cold weather prevents this from happening! You may be well aware of the struggles of trying to start your car in cold weather, and this is due to the decrease in power when the battery is cold. If you're experiencing any problems, it may be worth having your battery reviewed by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to fight through the cool season.

You should also be sure to check fluids and cables to ensure there isn't anything that needs replacing.

Windows and washers

Old wiper blades can have a very negative impact on your driving safety, as they don't remove the ice, rain or snow efficiently enough to give you a clear view. Be sure to replace them the moment you notice them hindering your driving capabilities. 

If you live in an area that experiences snow, ensure you fill your vehicle's wash reservoir with 'no-freeze' liquid to blast through the blankets of white.

Additional tips:

  • Keep an emergency kit in the boot - if you break down in winter, you're going to want to have a torch, blanket and a spare tyre.
  • Plan ahead and always make sure you're aware of any changes to the route.
  • Ensure you have a little extra petrol then you think you'll need - bad weather can lead to unexpected detours and traffic jams that can leave you short on gas.
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