Essential vehicle health checks for the winter months
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The nights are getting darker and the mornings are getting colder, and as we run up to Christmas, the colder climate will be playing havoc with our vehicles.
The winter can be a perilous time for drivers, from early morning frosted windscreens to more serious, permanent issues, winter is harsh and our cars certainly feel it too. With this said, we have put together some useful tips on the main issues to look out for, in order keep your car healthy during the winter season.
An icy road means treacherous territory and is arguably when you need your tyres to perform the most. Unfortunately, winter is also the most damaging time for car tyres, and temperatures under seven degrees Celsius can cause a significant drop in performance to standard models, so it’s essential your wheels are completely prepared.
Measure your tread and make sure it’s up to scratch. 1.6mm is the minimum legal measurement in the UK, even more necessary in icy situations. If your tyres do in fact need replacing, make sure you’re clued up on the models you are purchasing. Cutting corners on tyre quality in the winter months is a huge risk, with potential damage occurring to your vehicle as well as yourself.
Every cold morning across the UK means nationwide groans from motorists as frost and ice have to be removed from vehicles up and down the country. Yet frosty windscreens really should not be an issue if you are prepared. Stock up on some decent anti-freeze for a quick and simple response to the dreaded frosted glass. Furthermore, window cleaning fluids should be checked and replenished, as ice can cause further windscreen blurring even when it has been removed, and can be a severe disruption when combined with the low winter sun. Simple preventative steps like these can help clear your morning stress as well as your windscreen.
The winter months truly separate the reliable from the unreliable when it comes to batteries. Cold mornings can lead the most dated of devices to struggle, and no battery means no engine start. If your battery has been problematic in the past, it is advised that you upgrade before winter strikes. Risking it with an older battery can often mean it is only a matter of time before that dreaded no-start before work.
If it’s one thing you don’t need in minus temperatures, it’s for your engine to seize up. Such an occurrence will leave you stranded, so it’s important to consistently check up on your oil levels. This is one of the simplest preventive measures you can take, and can gain peace of mind through an easy dip-stick test (or check your car’s central information), or via your car’s in built information system. Carry out a weekly check. It’s quick and easy, and you don’t want to find out you have an issue when it’s too late!
Have a winter kit on hand
Sometimes, the dreaded winter breakdown will occur, so it’s best to be prepared. Having the correct equipment on hand in your vehicle can lead to a much safer situation for yourself. Winter kits like this one offered by Halfords include roadside essentials such as a torch and hazard triangle, and are well worth the investment during the colder months. A midnight breakdown in an unlit area could spell not only annoyance, but danger if such equipment is not on hand, so have a breakdown kit at the ready.