It’s no fun finding yourself stranded by the side of the road in winter because your car’s broken down.
In this weather, it’s something we’d all rather avoid, so here are some top tips to help you keep your vehicle in good working order over the colder months.
Prepare for freezing conditions
To keep wiper blades from sticking to your windows, try soaking a soft cloth with full-strength rubbing alcohol. By wiping each blade, you'll ensure they’ll still function on the iciest of days.
If your locks are frozen, try gently heating your car key with a match or lighter, then push the warm key into the lock to melt the ice.
Make sure you top up with antifreeze as this stops the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing. It’s also essential to top up your screen wash. At this time of year, your windscreen wipers will be used frequently because wet, wintry weather draws dirt and road salt from the road surface.
Screen wash has a lower freezing temperature than water alone, although washer jets can still become blocked in particularly cold temperatures. It’s worth keeping some screen wash in the car as there’s nothing worse than the sound of dry blades screeching across a greasy windscreen.
Check your car battery
Cold, damp weather puts a strain on your car's battery and makes it harder for your engine to turn over. Cold weather also has a negative impact on the power your battery can deliver. If you have an old car battery, wintery weather may just finish it off, if it’s faced with the additional power drain of heaters and other electrical devices.
If your car struggles to start due to a lack of power, then it’s time to replace your battery.
Clean your exterior lights
Your exterior lights will be used more frequently in the dark, winter months. Salt and dirt from the road can quickly build-up, decreasing the effectiveness of lights and reducing your visibility to other road users.
As well as regularly cleaning your lights, it’s also a good idea to carry spare bulbs in case of a failure. The worse time for a bulb to blow is when you’re driving in dark, freezing conditions.
Make sure your tyres are winter worthy
If you drive frequently and long distances during winter, it may be worth investing in a set of winter tyres as they provide additional grip in snow and ice, and in wet weather.
For normal road users, you should check the tread depth of your tyres is more than adequate. The legal limit is 1.6mm, but having more than this can improve your steering and braking performance.
If your tyres need replacing, do it before winter weather sets in. Plus, check your tyre pressure as it can drop with changes in air temperature.
Carry emergency equipment in the boot
If you do find yourself stranded at the side of the road, then you’ll be glad you took the precaution of storing a few safety items in the boot such as:
- Hazard warning triangle
- Hi-visibility vest
- First aid kit
- De-icer and a scraper
- Jump leads
- Warm clothes and gloves
- Welly boots
It’s also a good idea to carry food and drink, if you’re travelling long distances.
Would your car benefit from a winter health check?
We offer car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles including classic and vintage cars. Free collection and delivery can be arranged if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres. Please get in touch on 01252 615657 or visit www.fosterandheanesltd.co.uk