How to Prepare Your Car to Run Safely for Winter
Winter weather can inflict serious damage on your car during winter. When the season rolls around, it’s therefore worth taking a few protective measures. Not only will this limit the overall cost of motoring in the long term, it will also make your life on the road safer: not only for you, but for your fellow road users.
Taking care of your car in this way needn’t be expensive. In fact, in the long term, most of these measures will help you to minimise your costs.
Check the tyre pressure
Improperly inflated tyres won’t grip the road properly. They’ll either bulge in the centre, or along the edges. With less tyre coming into contact with the road, you’ll make slides more likely, and increase your stopping distance. In wintry conditions, when the road is more slippery, this can make a big difference.
You might also change the tyres entirely for winter tyres. These come with deeper treads, which will distribute surface water away from the tyre, and lower your risk of aquaplaning. The material itself will also tend to keep its shape better in colder weather.
Check the lights
During winter, you’ll be more reliant on your headlights. Make a point of periodically checking yours, and keep a supply of replacements to hand. If your lights aren’t working, then you will have difficulty seeing the road in front of you. You’ll also make yourself less visible to other road users. Lights which don’t work properly could also put you in legal trouble – even during hours of daylight.
Charge the battery
Cars tend to be more vulnerable to sputtering non-starts on frosty winter mornings. By keeping your battery topped up with a trickle charger, you’ll increase its longevity. This applies especially to cars that are sitting idle for long periods.
Replace old wipers
Over time, the rubber on your wipers will wear thin. This will mean you can’t wipe the windscreen clear, which will mean that you have a more difficult time seeing the road in front of you. Replacing your wipers regularly is therefore critical. Keep a supply of spares in your garage, and buy in bulk when you get the chance.
Change the fluid
Your screenwash concentrations matter during freezing spells. The screenwash has a lower freezing point than water does, which means that it won’t freeze up inside the pipe, before it reaches your windscreen. Increase the concentration according to the instructions on the bottle.
Change the oil
Different oils have different viscocities at different temperatures. This is what is described by the numbers on the front of every bottle. Learn what these numbers mean, and follow the recommendations of your car’s manufacturer when you come to shop for oil.