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Preparing your car for the colder months

jeffrey-wegrzyn-259697As we head into the colder months, we naturally start to prepare ourselves, our bodies and our homes to embrace the drop in temperature and face the cold with a hardened attitude. The gloves come out and the fire gets lit. They say that you can never be too prepared and this is all too true when it comes to prepping your motor for the months of minus temperatures.

First and foremost, it’s imperative to have access to the following. We don’t suggest going out and spending a fortune if you don’t have to, but having the below list of handy accessories may make your Winter months far less troublesome.

  • Winter Tyres
  • Tyre compressor and gauge
  • Anti-Freeze and tester
  • Wiper blades
  • Sat Nav
  • Battery Charger
  • Tyre chains or Snow Socks
  • De-icer
  • Vehicle tracks
  • Ice Scraper
  • Jumpstart pack
  • Torch

Check your car battery

The biggest battery killer is, of course, the cold, wet weather. Naturally, if your battery is already on its way out, then be sure to test this prior to any long drives in colder weather and of course, if there is any sign that it may not make the journey, then replacing it will be a far safer option than risking it, to save a quick buck in the moment. Whilst most car battery prices vary, the average fitted are between £60-£100. If you ever find yourself stuck on a road with a dead battery, this is where your jumpstart pack will become your lifesaver.

Check Antifreeze and Screenwash

Antifreeze, your secret weapon in the coldest months, it does what it says on the tin. Antifreeze works by stopping the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing; some brands are far more effective than others, so we suggest that it’s wise to invest in an antifreeze tester, which will then measure the freezing point of the antifreeze; providing you with the perfect indication as to whether you need to replace it with a far more effective brand when considering the falling temperatures throughout the coldest months of Winter. Secondly, you have your screenwash, which is highly utilised in the colder, wetter months. Be sure to always be prepared with a full tank to prevent hindering your sight further in the darker days. Naturally, screen wash has a lower freezing temperature than water, so you won’t be faced with too many days of frozen washer jets.

Light checks

With shorter periods of light, prolonged darkness and adverse weather conditions, your exterior lights will lead you to safety, through the darkest days. Be sure to clean your lights regularly to ensure that build up is reduced; salt and dirt can be the main culprits when reducing the visibility of lights. Whilst this preparation step may be a step too far, we would suggest that carrying extra bulbs in your car is a great preventative measure to ensure you’re never stuck in the cold.

Winter Tyres

What may seem like an excessive expenditure, may well become the best investment of the season. Driving in Winter conditions on a frequent basis will mean that you will battle the elements on a daily basis. Winter tyres will offer an unrivalled grip on snow and ice, bringing additional safety to your driving. If you believe that your roads will be well kept throughout, then be sure to check the tread depth isn’t below the legal limit of 1.6mm, as well as continually checking your tyre pressure.

Fuel Reserve

Bad weather can often be the main reason for car crashes, leaving congested roads and huge traffic delays of several hours. Whilst you may believe that your petrol reserve can get you through most traffic predicaments, it’s better to be safe, by always taking a petrol reserve with you; you never know, it may come in handy for a fellow driver.

Shelter

Aesthetic of your car may be your main priority, with millions of car enthusiasts naming their car as their pride and joy; there is simply no allowance for weather damage. If you’re lucky enough to have a garage at your disposal, be sure to utilise this at any given opportunity. However, if you’re pushed for space, then the best investment of the Winter will be a car cover, which will protect your car from rusting and a little less ice coverage on your windscreen in the mornings.

Winter Car emergency pack

In the worse case scenario, you may have a small accident on the road, or your car may fail you in some way, the RAC suggest always driving around with an emergency pack to ensure you are fully prepared for any situation that may present itself whilst waiting for assistance on the roadside. This emergency pack should include;

  • A hazard triangle
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Hi-Vis Vest
  • Rope
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • A torch
  • First Aid kit
  • Food and drink
  • A shovel
  • Suitable boots
  • De-icer and scraper

Being prepared for the road is something that is often overlooked, however, when it not only comes down to your safety but the safety of others, it should be the prominent factor to consider before getting in your car, especially in the cold, testing Winter months, that can present you with reduced vision and slippery surfaces. As we said earlier, you can never be too prepared…