Getting your car winter-ready

With setting in, you’ll want to make sure your car is ready for the inevitable plummeting temperatures and adverse road conditions. It’s essential to ensure that your vehicle is in proper working order so it can cope with the winter weather without breaking down.

Recovery firms will tell you that you’re twice as likely to break down during winter. However, with a little planning and careful preparation, you can ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Follow these steps to get your car winter-ready:

Check your battery

Cold and damp weather can put a strain on your car’s battery. It makes it harder for your engine to start moving, and also reduces the power your battery can deliver. If you haven’t changed your car battery recently, it might be run-down and could stop working when the cold weather hits.

If your engine struggles to start when you turn the key, it’s a sign that your battery may be getting to the end of its life and may need replacing. You can get a home battery tester, but it’s better to have your battery professionally checked.

Check your lights

Winter brings shorter days and decreased visibility, so you should check your exterior car lights. Your lights must be regularly cleaned to remove any build-up of salt and dirt. You need to be visible to other road users at all times. It’s a good idea to carry extra bulbs in your car just in case, and make sure you know how to replace them in an emergency.

Check your tyres

Check your tyres for signs of wear and tear. Look for any splits or bulges. Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure levels as stated in your owner’s handbook.

Consider increasing your tread depth. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, but during winter you’d be advised to have 3mm on your tyres for improved traction and grip. If you anticipate driving on snow-covered roads it might be worth buying a set of winter tyres or ‘snow socks’ for your existing tyres.

Check your coolant

The antifreeze in your coolant reservoir stops the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing. So, check the level in your coolant reservoir and top it up if needed using a mix of water and antifreeze. Your owner’s handbook will tell you the correct coolant mix to use. Your coolant solution should be changed every two to three years.

It’s always a good idea to check your coolant level before a long journey.

Check your windscreen

The low winter sun, combined with heavy rain, can make for challenging driving conditions. You’ll often find the wet weather on the roads covers your windows with dirt and road salt.

Make sure you clean your windscreen and windows, on both the outside and inside, to improve visibility. Only use a cleaner intended for car glass.

Check the condition of your windscreen wipers and replace them if they’re getting old. Ensure your screen wash bottle is full and use a good quality additive to prevent it freezing in very cold temperatures.

It’s a lot of time and trouble to properly prepare your car for winter, so why not get the experts to do it for you?  The Bromley Vehicle Test Centre team will be happy to take care of everything you need. Just give us a call on 020 8460 6666 and we’ll book you in.