Preparing your car for the cold weather has many benefits, the main one being that you reduce the risk of breaking down, which is not ideal for anyone. As temperatures plummet, we tend to forget to make the necessary car checks our vehicles need, especially on longer journeys when we’re travelling to see friends and family before the festive season starts. Although our cars are durable and reliable all year round, winter is the season that has the most potential to harm your car due to the salt which is used to keep the road free of ice. The ice will try to dissolve unprotected metal, and mud can get into unseen parts of our cars, causing potential blockages.
Click4Reg, a private number plates supplier, has compiled a list of the top 5 things you must do to get your car ready for winter. Let’s dive right in!
- Get Your Winter Survival Kit Ready
Preparing a winter kit for your car takes little to no time at all. It can be tailored to include whatever you feel is necessary, but the basic items you would need are:
- A large torch
- Spare phone charger or cable or phone battery pack
- Jump leads
- Empty fuel can
- High visibility clothing
- Warning triangles
- First aid kit
You won’t necessarily need to use all of the above, but it’s best to have them in the boot of your car should you require them. If you live or travel to and from rural areas, such as the countryside, you might get some use out of the shovel and high visibility clothing!
- Use Winter Wiper Blades
Snow can jam up regular wiper blades, causing them to smear or miss big sections of your windshield. Winter wiper blades take care of that issue. The entire blade is enclosed in a rubber boot, which keeps ice and snow from adhering or packing. They greatly improve visibility and make winter driving safer. Old wiper blades should be removed and replaced with winter ones, which is a very small investment for improved visibility and safety on the road.
You should be able to pick up new winter wiper blades at your local garage or car part supplier.
- Perform a Car Battery Test
Car batteries only last so long and the last thing you need is for your battery to fail you in the middle of winter. Extremely cold temperatures can put a significant amount of stress on your battery, which can drain your battery power by 30-60%!
Testing the battery in your car can be done by yourself or by a professional. Battery testers are designed to test the remaining capacity of a battery’s overall charge, so you have a clear picture of its health.
We highly recommend that a regular battery check is essential if your vehicle is only driven occasionally. You can purchase a battery tester from a local car accessory retailer or browse online. They are easy to use and come with simple-to-follow instructions!
Testing your battery twice a year will help reduce the chances of unexpected battery failure.
- Consider Winter Tyres
Your life might be saved by winter tyres. In comparison to all-season tyres, winter tyres offer significantly higher traction on snow. They even outperform regular tyres on ice, stopping you 48% faster and minimising the potential of skidding.
Winter tyres feature a softer compound, deeper grooves and narrow cuts that are built into the tread. This helps disperse water and snow, improving your vehicle’s contact with the road. Having these fitted before winter arrives isn’t mandatory in the UK, but in countries such as Sweden and Austria, for example, winter tyres are compulsory, or drivers could face hefty fines.
- Install Anti Freeze
A popular, cost-effective option for getting your car ready for winter is topping up the engine coolant with anti-freeze, and this is a must! Many drivers forget to top up the engine coolant throughout the year, and just top it up with water. The issue with this is that anti-freeze gets over-diluted.
As a guideline to remember, your vehicle’s engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze for it to work properly. Without anti-freeze, serious problems can arise from frozen or partially frozen coolant in your engine, stopping flow in the essential cooling system. This has the potential to cause overheating and, in the worst case, engine failure.
These checks for your car won’t take you all that long and it always pays to be safe than sorry. Make sure you follow our recommendations listed above and be road-safe in the winter. Also, if you have any tips or checks of your own, let us know!