Did you know that you are 20% more likely to get into a severe car accident during the winter months? With temperatures dropping and winter just around the corner, we’ve put together our top list of winter car maintenance tips.
Check your tyres
More rain and ice on the road during the colder month means longer stopping distances when braking, plus you’re at a much higher risk of skidding and sliding – so it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on your tyres. If your tread depth is below 3mm, we strongly recommend getting your tyres replaced (the legal minimum is 1.6mm).
A popular method for checking your tread depth is the “20p test”. Take a 20 pence coin and place it in one of the grooves on your tyres. If you can still see the rim around the coin, it’s time to get your tyres checked. Be sure to check each wheel in a few different places. It’s also wise to check your tyre pressure more frequently in the winter.
See also: Is it safe to buy part-worn tyres?
Top-up your fluid levels
You’ll go through a lot more screen wash in winter, so check the level regularly and top-up if needed with a 50-50 mixture of concentrated screen wash and water. Running out unexpectedly can dangerously affect your visibility when driving. It’s wise to have a spare bottle at home, and even a spare supply in the car so you don’t get caught out.
Engine coolant can freeze in the winter, so be sure to use enough antifreeze – again we recommend a 50-50 mixture of antifreeze and water.
Inspect your windscreen
Small cracks and chips can get worse in cold weather. Water will get inside and expand as it freezes. If you notice a crack, no matter how small, get it fixed right away to avoid bigger problems further down the line. If you have fully-comp insurance there’s a good chance it includes free windscreen cover.
Check your battery
Batteries are less effective in cold temperatures. If you’re car was struggling to start anyway during the summer and autumn, now might be a good time to get it replaced.
If you haven’t already, pack an emergency kit and keep it in your boot. It should contain a first aid kit, blankets, spare clothing, food & water, a torch with batteries, jumper cables and/or a battery pack. Breakdowns are more common in winter, and can be more dangerous when it’s cold and dark outside.
Get a service
Many garages offer a specialised winter service. They’ll check your lights, fluid levels and windscreen wipers, and do an oil change. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
We can’t guarantee that you won’t break down or face mechanical problems during the winter, but following the tips above will help you beat the odds. Preparation is key!