For many it won’t be a pleasant thought but once again winter is fast approaching, and it is time to start getting your car ready for winter.
Looking on the positive side, it brings with it Christmas, New Year and for some, winter holidays. However, for the car, winter can be a demanding and very trying season. The bad weather can hit our cars hard and to reduce the impact of that, it’s sensible to spend a little time and perhaps money getting ready.
So, here are a few top tips for getting your car ready for winter:
- check all your lights and fix any problems. True, this isn’t just a winter issue but the dark mornings and evenings mean you’ll be using your lights far more. Making sure all is well is imperative both for safety and avoiding some pointed roadside comments from the police;
- make sure you’re using anti-freeze. Different vehicles have different standards for this but the coolant/ant-freeze ratios will be in your owner’s manual. If you’re not sure how go about this, ask your local garage to help. Some might do so free of charge for regular customers but in any case, the cost of their help should be marginal;
- critically examine your tyres. Remember that the legal minimum isn’t, in itself, a definition of “best practice”. Make sure that the tread has plenty of spare and that there are no wear patches because winter will test those tyres more severely than summer did;
- if possible, garage your vehicle overnight. Many people have garages but use them for purposes other than parking the car, which might be left on the drive or street. A garage will help protect the car from some of the overnight winter weather – plus some car insurance policies might also offer discounts if your vehicle is garaged;
- triple-check that your front and rear screen demisters are working. Driving with badly fogged windows or ones that are dripping with condensation is highly dangerous;
- review and consider replacing your wiper blades. The cost isn’t typically high and this is usually an easy DIY type job. The blades’ rubber will have been stressed by summer’s sunshine and your wipers are bound to get a lot of use over winter. Perished rubbers in winter conditions can be very dangerous too;
- regularly clean your lights and external windows/mirrors. They’ll probably get caked up with salt and mud;
- have a look at your mats. Over winter, lots of wetness, snow and slush is going to come into your vehicle on people’s shoes. If your mats are thin and worn, some of that damp is going to penetrate into the metal flooring and help rust develop – something that’s well worth avoiding;
- if you haven’t done so recently, get a professional inspection and service done. Cold and damp are very hard on car engines and particularly those that have a few years under their belt! You won’t want to be broken down at any time of the year but particularly not on a cold winter’s night. An inspection and service won’t guarantee you’ll avoid that but it might help reduce the chances of such;
- cast an eye over your car insurance. Make sure it’s up to date and that you’re complying with all conditions of cover laid down.
Above all, winter roads are typically more dangerous than those same roads in summer. So, get your car ready for winter, and then drive conservatively!