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5 Essential Winter Car Checks

| In Motoring Advice

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were wondering when the summer heatwave was going to end. Now, it’s time to dig out the hat, scarves and gloves as winter returns. With shorter days and bad weather, it’s imperative that you prepare your car for winter and any eventuality that comes with the season. Here are our 5 essential winter car checks.

1. Check Your Car Battery

The battery is an essential part of any vehicle. Without one, you would not be able to start the car let alone run any of its electrical equipment, such as air-conditioning or electric windows. The colder temperatures make it harder for your engine to start, putting extra strain on the battery to get it going. So, when doing your winter car check, it’s best to regularly review the energy level of your battery to avoid any unwanted breakdowns. This can be done at most garages or at home with a battery tester kit.

2. Check Your Antifreeze

When preparing your car for winter, there is one step you cannot miss: checking the antifreeze. Antifreeze stops the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing, so is essential to keep you moving. Over time and usage, the protection level deteriorates and the fluid needs replacing. Manufacturers do have differing recommendations of when to change antifreeze, so it’s best to check with your local car dealer if you’re unsure. Alternatively, you can buy a home testing kit that will give you an indication of the level of protection.

3. Check Your Vehicle Lights

The winter months bring more hours of darkness and unexpected turns in weather, so it’s essential to know your exterior lights are clean and working properly. We advise carrying an extra set of bulbs in your car at all times just in case one was to blow.

We’ve put together a post all about how to keep your car clean during winter, take a look before preparing your car for winter.

4. Check Your Tyres

When the temperature drops below 7 degrees, winter tyres offer unrivalled levels of grip. Due to their increased tread, they perform far better than standard tyres in the snow and ice. In the UK it is not a legal requirement to fit winter tyres in snowy conditions but in some countries, it is. Check out Cargiant’s Guide to Winer Tyres

If you don’t want to purchase a set of winter tyres, make sure the tyre pressures are correct and you have plenty of treads left (1.6mm is the UK’s minimum limit).

5. Winter Car Equipment

The last step in your winter car check is all about the equipment. An unfortunate breakdown can happen at any point in the year, so it’s best to be prepared. Here is a list of winter essentials to carry in your car at all times:

  • A hi-visibility jacket
  • A warning triangle
  • A first aid kit
  • De-icer and a scraper
  • A spare mobile phone or external battery
  • A torch
  • Extra coats and blankets to keep you warm
  • Plenty of water

Now you know what essential winter car checks to make, you can drive through the winter months confidently and prepared for whatever may be thrown at you.