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Is Your Car Winter Ready?

Now that the weather is turning more wintery, we've put together our top ten pieces of advice to get your car ready for the latest blast of cold weather heading across the UK.

1. Get your vehicle serviced

It is always best to get your car serviced before the winter months. The cold weather causes lots of trouble for cars and many could be prevented with regular maintenance and servicing. Many garages offer winter checks, so take advantage of these.

2. How is your battery?

The winter months increase the strain on your battery. You use electric functions such as lights, heaters and blowers much more. If you car is having trouble starting, get the battery checked first and replace it if necessary. The average life span of a battery is 5 years.

3. Check the levels of engine coolant with antifreeze

Standard mixtures of water and antifreeze is 50/50. The antifreeze will dilute over time especially during the summer months when drivers are topping up the water. To prevent the water freezing, using a good quality antifreeze.

4. Tyres

This is year round check you should be performing but it is especially important during the winter. The legal minimum is 1.6mm but a recommended depth is 3mm in the winter.

If possible, changing to winter tyres from summer tyres increases grip in the ice, slush or snow.

5. Clean all the lights on your vehicles.

Standard checks like cracked lenses or blown bulbs are a given, but also clear lights, indicators and reflectors from snow and ice. Increased gritting of roads also causes lights to become very dirty so these should be check everyday.

6. Wash your windscreen and wipers

Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your windscreen and top up your screen washer fluid. You should also check your wipers for nicks and tears and check the windscreen itself for chips. These can grow during the winter so take advantage of chip repair offers, many of which will be covered by your insurance.

7. Prepare for the weather

Taking long journeys in the winter can be hazardous so keep an eye on the weather forecast and travel news. Always allow extra time for your journey to allow rushing and to add breaks during the route. Make sure all your windows are clear of ice and snow and top up all levels on antifreeze.

8. Winter car breakdown kit

This is a good idea to carry in the boot during the winter. This should include a shovel, torch, blanket, hi-visibility vest, screen wash, food and drink supplies, scraper and de-icer, and snow grips for your shoes in case you need to walk to safety. You should also ensure you have an in-car charger or keep your phone fully charged in case of emergency.

9. Breakdown cover

Comprehensive breakdown cover is crucial at this time of year and will give you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t end up stranded in the cold. So check your policy and remember to take a contact phone number with you on all journeys.

10. Other important areas

Also, keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in case of unexpected delay and check the oil. If you have a bit of motor know-how, check your brake pads, brake discs and brake fluid to ensure the brakes are fast and responsive. Ensure the fan belt and alternator drive belts are tight and not worn and that plugs and other leads are in good condition and secure.


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