The festive season is on, or can say the winter season has come!
However, it is very tiring for the car owner to find the cold mornings and the regular need to de-ice the windscreen. Here are the key points to give immediate attention to get the car ready for winter.
The frosty starts can put a massive strain on the battery; fluids can freeze, wipers can wear quickly and maintaining the tyre depth becomes more crucial. To ensure you stay safe on the roadway, you need to perform a few simple winter car checks. Even if you feel your vehicle is running optimally, you still need to go for a full car service check.
What is a Winter Car Check?
A winter car check includes inspection of every vehicle component that can cause a problem in the cold, snowy, and wet conditions. The winter check typically encompasses inspection of tyres, battery, coolant, engine oil, windscreen wipers, different fluids, and so on.
However, experts advise that you can carry out the maintenance inspection for the basic inspections by yourself. Do call for the workshop/ dealership to encounter severe problem areas.
How to keep your car healthy in winters?
Keeping your car healthy in winters should be your top priority if you want to avoid weather-related vehicle accidents or being stranded on the roadside on a chilly day.
Here is a winter car maintenance checklist to prepare your car for winter.
- Fuel – Make sure to top up the fuel tank before a journey. In the UK, heavy traffic and start/stop occurrences are very common in winters. Running low on fuel while stuck in the traffic might be the last thing in your mind, so be proactive.
- Oil – It is also prudent to check oil levels regularly in your vehicle. Replenish the engine oil, steering oil, brake oil and transmission oil before any long journey. You should check your owner’s manual to find out which oil you should use and how much oil you need for different purposes. Ensure you do not overfill and always pour the right amount.
- Rubber – Besides tyres, rubber on your wiper blades should be ideal for cleaning the dirt accumulated from rain, snow, ice, and road salt. The vehicle must also use recommended washer fluid for better cleaning of the windscreen.
- Coolant – It is a mixture of water and antifreeze, which circulates your engine to keep it cool. Like oil, you should top up the coolant to the recommended level. Keep in mind to never check the coolant level with the engine running; do it when it is cool.
- Electrics – Examine the vehicle lights and indicators before any journey and replace the bulbs that are not working. Winters are hard on the batteries, so ensure you run a battery check before any extended drive. Replace the battery as soon as it starts showing signs of ageing. Do not put off this maintenance task.
- Screen Wash – You need a proper antifreeze screen wash to keep the windscreen free of ice and dirt. Ensure you buy the screen wash effectively down to no less than -15 degrees Celsius. It is also essential to avoid the risk of a frozen windscreen.
- Tyres– While the tyres health is by far the most vital aspect of your vehicle’s safety, its significance increases in winters. The rubber needs proper tread depth for traction and grip on icy and wet surfaces at this time of the year. Moreover, you need to ensure they have the recommended tyre pressure (find it in your manual or inside the driver’s door). The UK and Europe have set the legal tyre tread depth to 1.6mm. However, the minimum tread depth should be 3mm for icy or wet surfaces.
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I Have Just Taken an MOT, Do I Still Need Full Service?
Contrary to common belief, the MOT test and full car service are two opposite sides of a coin. An MOT is an annual road-worthiness test to ensure the car is safe to drive. Although it tells which parts have failed during the examination and includes advisory notes as well, it is not about replacing or repairing worn out parts. A full winter care check makes sure all the faulty components get a repair or replacement, while an MOT will not.
What should you need in your car for winter driving?
You can’t stop driving because its winter. But get prepare your car in case of a winter breakdown. Here, don’t forget to carry winter car driving kits to help while stranded.
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Jump leads
- Reflective warning triangle
- A tow rope
- A torch
- In-car phone charger
- Portable battery charger
It is okay to ask an expert to do the winter car checks when you can’t do it. Many dealers & spare shops are offering this service for a basic fee. Even some offer free winter car checks when your car needs a service simultaneously.
Do take pre-checkup when your vehicle MOT is due this winter!
Whatever the climate, you need to maintain the vehicle and appropriate driving style to drive safely on the road.