As temperatures start to fall and warm summer days become a fading memory, it's time to start thinking about getting your car ready for winter. A properly maintained car can weather winter temperatures and October is the perfect month to start preparing. Ideally a pre-winter service means checks to your tyres, battery, wiper blades and anti-freeze and your car given a thorough inspection. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to this a few simple steps can keep your vehicle in good working order this winter and go a long way to preventing breakdowns writes Ger Herbert
Check your Tyres
1.6mm is the legal limit for thread depth but during winter, 3mm is recommended for driving. Make sure to check the spare tyre and ensure that your tyres are properly inflated to get the best possible traction with the road. If you do a lot of driving, especially early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are at their lowest you should consider switching to all season tyres.
Battery failure is one of the most common causes of breakdown during the winter months. Despite what people may think, they don’t actually last forever. Replacing them when necessary, can save you a lot of time and inconvenience. Cold temperatures reduce the capacity of any battery and if it is more than three years old it is worthwhile having it checked.
Don’t let the fuel levels drop too much as you risk your fuel tank freezing – make sure to fill up before you set off on a long journey. If you do get stuck at least you’ll be able to stay warm.
Check that all the light bulbs are working and that headlights are clean and aimed correctly. All external lights should be cleaned regularly, especially when roads are salted.
Ensure coolant is topped up regularly to ensure a healthy engine as overheating is a common cause of breakdown. Don’t forget to top up the windscreen washer fluid, ensuring it contains an anti-freeze agent. Check the vehicle handbook for the recommended ratio.
Carry an emergency kit
Some of the items you should include are a torch, spare AA batteries for your torch and bulbs, screen scraper/de-icer, jump leads, warning triangle, first-aid kit, mobile phone, warm blankets, extra water, shovel (to clear snow if necessary) and road maps.
Wiper blades should be replaced regularly, so check them out as winter approaches for wear and tear.
Clean windows are essential for safe driving. Stock-up on de-icer and a plastic scraper to help make frosty mornings that bit easier.
Keeping a can of de-icer or WD-40 on hand to de-freeze frozen locks. Do not pour hot water on frozen locks as this will only increase the amount of water inside and result in the problem reoccurring. Never force the key to turn a frozen car lock.
Now that you know how to get your car winter ready, make sure you car is protected, whatever the weather, to learn more about Aviva car insurance.
It’s not only your car which can be affected during the winter months, as the nights grow longer, you may want to learn about some simple ways to improve your homes security.