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Winter driving: is your vehicle ready?

Created on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
by Darren Corke

Winter is here and many of us rely on our vehicles for getting to work, doing the school run and other day-to-day tasks.

Some people might not realise that your car will need a little extra TLC over winter and so I’ve written this list of handy tips to help.

Winter driving - it's snow joke!

Winter driving – it’s snow joke!

Car Battery

The rescue services attend more call-outs for batteries than any other problem. During February 2015 this totalled more than 50,000 battery-related call-outs. Remember, if your car has not been used for a period of time, the battery may need charging before you come to use it.

Coolant

Ensure that coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. It is also important that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. If you’re uncertain, have a look at your handbook or get a local garage to check the strength. Anti-freeze is cheap but damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive to put right.

Don’t forget: anti-freeze is incredibly poisonous to pets, so use with care. Always clean up any spillages and buy anti-freeze that contains a bittering agent, which will prevent it from tasting sweet to animals.

Tyres

Check tyre condition to see if there is adequate tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check the pressure. If you live in an area particularly at risk of snow consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you greater traction and control.

Screenwash

Make sure you have enough screenwash and that the concentration is suitable for cold conditions. Not all screenwash is the same so look for the temperature it protects down to. You should be looking for protection down to down to -10 degrees C and if you live in areas subject to the greatest extremes of weather, down to -20 degrees C.

Wiper blades

Check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up.

It’s also important to make sure all exterior lights are working correctly. You should also check the oil, coolant and washer fluid levels, and don’t leave home on that long trip over lonely country roads without enough fuel for the journey and a coat in the boot!

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