Winter Car Checklist

As we head into winter, we think it’s only right to make sure you and your car are prepared for every occasion.

With temperatures dropping, the windscreen frosting over and surfaces getting icy, the number of breakdowns can more than double throughout the winter months. But a few minutes maintenance could see your motor through the worst the weather has to offer.
1. Servicing your car
If you are someone who puts off having a service on their car for many reasons, you may reconsider this if you knew the damage it was inflicting on your car. As whilst the cold can cause lots of problems for your car, up to half of them could have been prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks.
For more servicing advice, check out our servicing guide here for more details.
2. Checking the battery.
This fundamental part of the car is considered the main priority in terms of maintenance, especially in the colder months. As in this period, it suffers from a double attack of cold temperatures – reducing the output and the increased use of lights, heater and blower, which altogether can cause major additional strain.
For most batteries, they have an effective life of up to five years, so if your car is starting to show signs of problems that shouldn’t be occurring, it is best to get the battery checked out and if necessary, to replace it.
3. Topping up your engine coolant with antifreeze.
The recommended amount of the engine coolant should consist of a 50/50 mix of both water and antifreeze.
Antifreeze is an additive which lowers the freezing point of a water-based liquid and increases its boiling point; therefore, this is a beneficial aid to use in the winter months because it used to achieve freezing-point depression for cold environments and achieves boiling-point elevation, all in all, allowing higher coolant temperature.
People make the common mistake of topping up with water during the year, so the antifreeze gets over-diluted and freezes during very cold weather; this can lead to the engine overheating and a hefty repair bill.
4. Checking the condition of your tyres.
A car’s tyres are a major player in both steering and braking of a car, therefore it is in your best interest to keep these in good condition. For the winter months, the depth recommended is 3mm compared to the legal minimum of 1.6mm. The reason for this is to increase grip on the road, whilst also considering changing from summer to winter tyres, as this offer increased the group of snow slush or ice.

For more advice on tyres, check out our tyres guide here for more details.
5. Cleaning your lights.
Check all your lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean from any debris or substances you may have brushed against whilst commuting.
Also, check for cracked lenses or blown bulbs, whilst also looking at checking if whether your full beam headlights, fog lights and indicators are working the way they should do.
6. Washing your windscreen and wipers.
Make sure you give your windscreen some TLC, by giving them a thorough clean inside and out, but also making sure your screen washer fluid is topped up with antifreeze too for the same reasons as you would for engine coolant.
Closely look at your windscreen too for any chips, as these tend to grow in the cold weather. Additionally, touch up any chips in the bodywork, as the salt deposits on the road will attack these.
As far as your wipers are concerned, you can do your own test of their condition by running your finger down the wiper blades to check for nicks and tears. For more information about car window wipers, click here for our guide - which covers maintenance and much more!
7. Preparing for longer journeys.
If you are unfortunate enough to have to travel long distances in this weather, make sure you keep yourself up to date with the latest weather forecasts, travel news and what are the safest routes for you.
Most importantly, allow yourself more time for your journey. This is to make sure you don’t feel rushed whilst travelling as you’re more liable to have an accident.
8. Carrying a winter car breakdown kit.
You will need the following:
  • Shovel.
  • Torch.
  • Blanket.
  • Hi-visibility vest.
  • Screen Wash.
  • Food and drink supplies.
  • Scraper and de-icer.
  • Snow grips for your shoes, this is in case you need to walk to safety.
  • A fully charged mobile phone.
9. Checking your cover.
Having comprehensive breakdown cover will be your helping hand at this time of the year, as it will give you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t be in the predicament of being stranded in the cold. Therefore, check your policy and remember to take a contact phone number with you on all journeys.

Furthermore, make sure to slow down as speed limits are there to give guidance, not to targets to achieve. Also, stay alert to what is around you and finally stay in control.
          For more CarCliq guides click here.

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