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How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Snow, ice and freezing fog make driving in winter hazardous enough so why increase the risk of an incident or breakdown? Ensure your vehicle is prepared for the winter ahead by following this checklist, it won’t take long, and it could prove to be less costly.

Carry some winter essentials In the boot.
Ice scrapper, boots, gloves, hats, blankets, mobile phone, torch and for those who live in remote areas, you may want to also carry some flares. In the event that you do breakdown it is essential that you and your passengers keep warm. Sometimes it isn’t safe to stay in the vehicle so these essential items will help you retain heat until help arrives.

Check your tyres
Make sure your tyres are in good health, have plenty of tread and are at the right pressure. Deflated tyres reduce traction when driving on snow and ice because the tread closes. You can check them at any garage and it costs very little or in some cases nothing at all.

Add your antifreeze
Ensure that you radiator has the right level of antifreeze in it. For most vehicles a 50:50 mix of water to antifreeze solution is recommended, but check your owner’s manual. Rather than just topping it up with antifreeze, drain the radiator down and start from scratch. Pre-mixed solutions are now available to buy if you don’t want to bother mixing your own.

Check you Battery
Starting your engine on a cold morning can take it out on your battery. Check for any signs of erosion on your battery points, white powder around the points is a signal of battery acid corrosion so get it checked over. Most batteries have a water reservoir under a cap, check whether it needs topping up with distilled water. If your unsure get your local garage to take a look..

Keep you fuel tank topped up
Running you car on fumes is never a good idea, but during wintery conditions it could prove disastrous. Many people get caught out due to road closures from accidents or severe weather conditions to find themselves being redirected without enough fuel to finish their journey. The other problem is that condensation forms in an empty fuel tank which could lead to moisture in the fuel lines, if this freezes it can cause engine failure which can be costly to repair.

Replace wipers and top up screen wash
You often see cars being driven with the driver peering through a small clear section of their windscreen while the remainder of the windscreen is covered with a layer of frozen snow, there’s no wonder accidents happen! Make sure your wipers are working effectively and you have antifreeze in your screen wash solution.

Check you oil
Your oil ensures that the moving parts of your engine stay moving and oil levels and condition should be checked regularly. The thickness and fluidity of oil, known as its viscosity is affected by extremes in temperature. Check your owner’s manual for the right oil to use in winter and get it changed.

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