While it’s a bit grim to think about winter when autumn has only just started, it’s important that you prepare your car (and yourself!) for the season. Just like we need coats, gloves and hats, our cars need maintenance to ensure they make it through the freezing temperatures and icy streets.
By following these 9 car maintenance tips, you’ll ensure your car sees you through the winter and beyond.
- Check Your Battery
It’s especially important that your battery is in top working condition from December-March as you’ll be putting it through the ringer with increased use of lights and heat. So, before the cold really sets in, make sure you have your battery tested with a volt test to make sure it’s working properly. If you’re having any problems, be sure to have it replaced. By putting it off, you risk being stranded in a car that won’t start!
- Top Up Your Antifreeze
Antifreeze, or coolant, is especially important during colder months because…well, it stops your engine from freezing. Do a quick check to see if you’re low and to see if there are any leaks that could allow coolant to drip out. We recommend visiting a mechanic to make sure you’re in good shape because, while coolant is inexpensive, a frozen cooling system could cause huge internal pressures and severe engine damage.
- Check Your Tyre Depth
Tyres are vital for both steering and braking, two functions you don’t want to malfunction any time of year, but especially during the winter when roads are icy.
For those who drive frequently during the winter, we recommend buying winter tyres with a stronger grip that’s perfect when temperatures drop. If you’re weary about investing in a set of tyres that are only effective during one season, don’t worry! Winter tyres work just fine during summer, spring and autumn, especially when the roads are wet.
If you don’t want to invest in new tyres, just make sure your tyres meet the minimum depth requirement (1.6 mm).
- Check for Chips
No, we don’t mean the kind you get as a side with your fish. Instead, look out for chips in your windscreen and in the bodywork of your car. As it gets colder, these chips can grow and salt deposits on the road will attack them, making a relatively small problem a big one.
- Clean Your Lights
Just like steering and braking are important, so is visibility. As the sun sets earlier, you’ll have less daylight making your lights more important than ever, especially if you commute home daily.
First, clean all lights, indicators and rear reflectors. Next, check for illumination. If a bulb is out, or if your headlights are foggy or yellow, be proactive and replace them before it gets too cold.
- Keep a Full Tank
While this might seem like common sense, it’s worth mentioning.
A full tank of gas will prevent water from accumulating and freezing inside your fuel pump. It’ll also help you in the case of a breakdown. At least you’ll be able to keep the engine running and stay warm!
- Test Your Window Defroster, Wipers and Screen Wash
Winter is wet. To keep your windshield clear, you’ll need wipers that are in good shape as well as a defroster that works properly and a screen wash bottle that’s full.
First check your wipers for tears and, if you haven’t replaced them in over 6 months, consider buying a new set. Your defrosting system relies on both your heater and blower. If it’s not working, your problem could simply be a bad fuse or a bad blower speed control. Either way, we recommend seeing a mechanic to make sure yours is working properly. Finally, check your screen wash bottle. It can be found under your bonnet and can be topped up easily.
- Get Your Survival Kit Together
Just in case, always have a Survival Kit in your boot or backseat. Essentials include: a blanket, jumper cables, a hi-vis vest, cell phone charger, shovel, de-icer spray and a torch.
- Have Your Car Serviced
As they say, prevention is better than cure.
While you certainly can go through this guide point-by-point, it might be easier and more effective to have your car serviced in early November. That way, you’re as prepared for winter has you possibly can be.
Unfortunately, no precautions can guarantee your car won’t break down. Why not get yourself a quote from Warranty Direct to see how we can help you in the event of unexpected vehicle failure?
Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by BNP Paribas Cardif Limited, trading as Warranty Direct. Warranty policies are underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No.3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075