Vehicle breakdowns are likely to increase throughout the winter months, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing or sleeting, cold weather can be the cause lots of problems for cars, your car needs an extra bit of TLC.
We have created a car winter checklist to help your vehicle get through winter.
- Service your car – get your car serviced regularly.
- Check your battery – the cold weather reduces the output of the battery which is working overtime using the lights, blower, and heater more. If your battery needs replacing, get it replaced. The last thing you need is to be stranded on a dark cold night trying to jump-start your car.
- Check your tyres – during the winter the roads often become icy making driving conditions difficult. It is important to check your tyres, the legal minimum depth s 1.6mm however for a better grip we would recommend a depth of 3mm.
- Clean your windscreen and wipers – in the winter your vision can get affected because of the build-up of ice and snow, it is important to keep your windscreen clean from the inside and outside. You should also top up your screen washer fluid with antifreeze.
- Clean your lights – make sure that your lights, rear reflectors, and indicator lights are all clean. It would also be good to check that all the lights and full beams are working properly.
- Check the oil level – oil should be checked regularly regardless of the season. In the winter it is even more important as oil consumption has been known to increase in cold weather.
- Brakes – during winter, heavy rainfall, icy roads, and thick snow can cause havoc. It is advisable to have a full brake check before winter.
- Top up your engine with antifreeze and coolant – your engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. The reason that antifreeze gets frozen over winter is because it becomes over-diluted as people top up their cars with water.
- Carry a winter car breakdown kit – your kit should include a torch, shovel, blanket, first-aid kit, hi-visibility vest, screenwash, scraper and de-icer, and snow grips for your shoes in case you need to walk to safety.
- Fully charged mobile phone – ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged before starting your journey.
- Allow yourself extra time for journeys – if you are going on a long journey be prepared for delays. Google maps are a great way of knowing how long your journey should take as the calculation takes into consideration the traffic in real-time.
- Food and drink supplies – have a supply of foods and drinks when you set out on your journey.
- Check the weather forecast and travel news for any updates – If the roads are really icy and it is snowing a lot you should assess whether your journey is necessary or can you delay your trip.
Preparing Car for Winter Driving
Preparing car for winter driving is essential. Our checklist above covers the essentials so you are ready for winter. But what about your driving? You have to drive according to the road and the weather conditions.
The key to driving in the winter is common sense if the roads are icy; reduce your speed, slow down. Stay in control of your vehicle in the snow and don’t panic.
If the speed limit is 30 but it is difficult to drive safely then use your common sense and reduce your speed. You do not have to drive 30 miles an hour if it is not safe to do so. Remember to allow extra time for your journey.
If you do breakdown in winter it is important you know what to do. If you breakdown on the motorway you should follow our motorway guide.
If you breakdown on the roadside make sure:
- Your car is visible – pull in somewhere safe, or to the left of the road, with your wheels turned to the left. Turn your hazard lights and sidelights on.
- Stay safe and warm – stay in your car if it is safe to do so. If you are stuck in the snow run your engine occasionally to keep warm.
- Put out a warning triangle – at least 45 metres behind your vehicle.
- Call for RAF autos and recovery 01184 492443 our 24-hour breakdown and recovery will be happy to assist you.