Nov 232018
 

Winter proofing tyresWinter is rapidly approaching and while the prospect of a white Christmas may sound appealing, icy conditions can be anything but ideal for many motorists.

At Warranty Direct, we’ve put together this season’s maintenance ‘to-do’ list, so your vehicle is always winter-ready.

Winter-Proof Your Tyres

Consider buying Winter tyres, which are made from rubber with a high silica content and a tread pattern designed to stay flexible in low temperatures. They provide better braking and handling performance on snow and ice.

It can make sense to buy winter tyres if you live in a remote area where conditions are likely to be worse for longer.

Elsewhere it may be harder to justify the cost in the UK, although your personal decision should be based on your own risk of bad weather, your confidence when driving and how much you have to drive in icy conditions.

If you decide not to buy winter tyres, you need to ensure you have a minimum tread depth of 4mm to get adequate traction. For every 10 degrees change in temperature, car tyres lose a pound of pressure. So check the pressure in all tyres at the outset of the winter season.

Make Sure You’re Kitted Out

 Should the worst happen and your vehicle breaks down in sub-zero conditions, you need to be equipped with a winter breakdown kit.

Stock essential items in your boot like a blanket, water, non-perishable snacks and a first aid kit – which is a must-have all year-round – but especially important in winter.

It’s also highly recommended you have at least one spare tyre and warning triangle on hand to help you in the event of a breakdown.

Keeping an in-car phone charger is also paramount as it will allow you to contact your breakdown cover provider if you find yourself in a roadside emergency.

Break the Ice

You must ensure all ice and snow is removed from the windscreen before you embark on any journey.

Many motorists mistakenly believe they only have to clear away enough frost to allow them partial vision. This is known as ‘porthole vision’ and could be subject to strict penalties.

Improve Visibility

It’s also vital you check the health of your wiper blades, as any squeaking might be down to damaged blades. While you’re attending to windshield issues, car safety experts suggest switching over to cold weather washer fluid, or any brand containing anti-freeze.

Check the Battery

Your vehicle’s battery loses 33% of its power when temperatures drop below freezing. So it’s wise to examine the battery and its charger so you know they’re performing optimally. If unsure, a trip to a reliable car mechanic will quickly reveal whether your battery is winter-ready.

At Warranty Direct, we have a Preferred Repairer Network which consists of over 3,000 specially selected garages that can undertake reliable repair work for our policy holders.

Consider Different Oil

Cold weather thickens engine oil, which forces car batteries to work overtime to get your car running. But you can give your battery a break and avoid possible engine issues by switching over to a thinner oil. However, be sure to check your owner’s manual for notes on compatibility first.

Of course, even after taking all of these precautions problems could still arise. To make sure you are protected in the event of unexpected vehicle failure, why not get a quote with Warranty Direct today?

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Nov 092018
 

Driving in winter

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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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