Autumn is already well under way and with the clocks about to change there is no denying that winter is almost upon us. There is no better time to prepare your car before the cold and damp set in so that you are ready to face winter whether it’s a slow turn to cold weather or a sudden cold spell overnight.
To make sure you are set for the cold, here is a quick checklist of what you need to look for:
1. Servicing: if you haven’t had a service yet this year, then book in for one now. The cold can be harsh on your car, but many of the problems it causes can be prevented with some regular maintenance and servicing.
2. Battery: with a typical life of around five years, batteries do go through a lot in that time. Winter adds extra strain to your battery as it doesn’t only have to work in colder temperatures but it also has to cope with more things drawing on it such as the lights, heater, wipers, etc. Check that your battery is still working well and if it’s showing any signs of problems, get it replaced.
3. Tyres: check that your tyres are in good condition. They are fundamental to good steering and braking so you want to make sure that they have good tread and the right pressure. A good way to check that they are not too worn is to insert a 20p piece into the tyre groove. If the outer band is not visible then your tyres comply with the legal limit of 1.6mm. Experts do recommend that you replace your tyres if the tread depth falls below 3mm though and this is especially important in winter when tyres are more exposed to water, snow, and ice.
4. Antifreeze: make sure you top up with antifreeze to protect your engine. Aim for a mix of 50/50 water and antifreeze and keep it topped up so that it does not get too diluted. If there it too much water in the coolant mix it can freeze when temperatures drop and could lead to an expensive repair if your engine cannot cool properly.
5. Wipers: check your wipers are working properly and replace them if the rubber is cracked or torn. Use screen wash in a greater quantity during the winter months to help against freezing.
6. Windscree: check for any cracks or chips and get them sorted if you find any. They can get worse in cold weather as water can get in, freeze, and expand.
7. Winter kit: particularly important if you are making long journeys or snow and ice are forecast. This should include a shovel, a torch and spare batteries, a blanket or sleeping bag, screenwash and a scraper, de-icer, a flask with a hot drink, and some snacks. It is also worth having a phone charger in your car to make sure that you don’t run out of battery on your phone so that you can call for help if possible.
If you have any questions, would like us to check your car in preparation for winter, or find something that needs attention during your checks, get in touch with us at Bromley Vehicle Test Centre on 020 8460 6666 to book an appointment.