Just as you prepare yourself in the morning according to the weather, so too must your car be prepared in a similar fashion; now I’m not saying you need to put underwear on your car to keep it warm but a little due care goes a long way towards ensuring your cars longevity and safe working state.
Below is a list of helpful things to do to your car before winter sets in.
1. Antifreeze – If we liken it to the body then we could say that having no antifreeze in your car in the winter is like not wearing a hat in the winter. It might be ok or if it gets really cold, your ears might fall off. This leads to all sorts of complications. If you just have water in your radiator then you are at risk of damaging the radiator and possibly the engine, leading to a potentially hefty mechanics bill. Without antifreeze the water in a radiator expands and cracks the filaments leading to leakages and if this is not spotted can lead to overheating of the engine and further complications. Ensure that you get the correct mix of water and antifreeze – consult the manual or the back of the antifreeze bottle.
2. Wiper blades and fluid – Poor visibility through smearing on the windscreen is often caused by salt on the roads. Check your wiper blades and fluid levels to ensure you don’t get caught out with the dreaded white smear across your windscreen on a trip out. To check the wiper blades – simply pull the wiper away from the windscreen and check the rubber for tears or pitting. If the rubber has a rough feel down the blade then they will need replacing which is cheap and easily done.
3. Bulbs – With the days getting shorter in winter we find ourselves driving more often whilst it’s dark. It’s important to check our light bulbs as often as possible. Be diligent. Check them every time if possible.
4. Oil Levels – Low oil levels, especially in winter, can lead to a lot of wear and tear on your engine. You can often hear the engine labouring a little and sounding rough when you start in the mornings when it’s cold. It pays to take it easy until the engine has warmed up. Don’t be tempted to put your foot down before then engine and oil has warmed up as this is when most wear and tear happens. This issue is only exacerbated when there is too little oil so ensure that the engines is topped up to the top notch on the bottom of a dipstick. You can typically find the dipstick by looking for a brightly coloured end of a stick. If you’re unsure then consult the owners manual.
5. Battery – With the increased load on the battery with the heaters, lights, de-misters and windscreen wipers, it is very important to ensure your battery is up to the job. The battery is charged as the engine runs but with the increased work it has to do in the winter months it leaves it that little bit more worn out each year. If you haven’t replaced your battery in 6 years then doing it at this point certainly wouldn’t be premature.
6. Tyres – Check your tyres for bald patches, excessive wearing on any one side of the tyre, and bulges. Any of these characteristics can lead to accidents so get them replaced if they’re showing signs of wear and tear.
7. Servicing – winter takes its toll on your car so mitigate this risk by getting your car regularly and thoroughly serviced. Doing a service before winter ensures everything is working as it should be and is in tip top condition for the harsh weather conditions ahead.
8. Winter Safety Kit – a few simple provisions can make all the difference if you break down. Pack a winter bag and keep it stored in the boot:
- Waterproof jacket
- High vis jacket
- Screen wash
- Engine Oil
- Food (long use by date)
- Fully charged phone or in -car charger
- Jump leads
Drive with extra care and attention, slow down and stay in control to prevent accidents. Watch out for puddles on the motorway.
9. Prepare for longer journeys – leave ahead of time and avoid rushing. Ensure you’ve plenty of sleep the night before and if you feel tired then take a break and get a coffee.
10. Correct cover – Running the risk with third party only or third party fire and theft leaves you at risk of potentially large expense should the worse happen. Contact Acorn if you wish to discuss the comprehensive car insurance we offer.