While there is nothing you can do about winter weather, there is plenty you can do to make sure that you and your car are prepared for the poorer road conditions. Take a look at our guideline which outlines areas you need to check for before you set off on your journey.
Bulbs and Lights:
Check your bulbs regularly, make sure they are working correctly along with indicators, brakes and fog lights. It is a good idea to keep spare bulbs in your glove compartment in case you need them.
It might seem obvious to keep some fuel in your tank, however during winter it is recommended you keep the tank at least half full as this will prevent condensation from forming. Condensation turns to water in your tank and fuel lines, when temperatures drop which may lead to a risk of freezing.
Tyre pressure and depth:
Your tyre tread should never go below 2mm however, during the winter months this should be kept above 3mm, which will improve your car’s steering and braking. It is also important not to over-inflate your tyres as this can cause them to slide across the road surface rather than grip it.
Engine oil thickens in cold weather, which makes it harder for your engine to start. Engine oil that has a lower viscosity (is thinner) makes it easier to start your engine. This will also reduce your fuel consumption. Check your manufacturer’s manual to see what is recommended for your vehicle and ensure to top up your oil regularly.
Your battery has to work harder to start your engine in cold weather. Switch off your radio, lights, wipers, and heater; remember to unplug accessories before switching off your engine. This way, when you next start your car, it won’t unnecessarily drain the battery.
It is crucial you regularly service your vehicle by a reputable and qualified mechanic, in accordance with your car manufacturer’s guidelines.
Windscreen wipers and fluid:
You need to replace windscreen wipers once a year; this will ensure optimum performance. In very cold weather, do not add water to your screen wash concentrate, as it can freeze both in the washer nozzles and on your windscreen.
Coolant, or antifreeze, works to control the temperature of the fluids and various engine parts in your car to ensure your engine doesn’t freeze or overheat. It is vital you don’t mix your antifreeze with other types as it can damage your engine.
Speak to your car dealer or mechanic if you are not sure which antifreeze is in your car. A 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system is suggested during winter. This gives maximum protection (down to -34° centigrade), and without it, you risk severe engine damage. This can be very expensive to fix!
Door locks and seals:
During cold weather use WD-40 on car locks regularly to prevent freezing. Polish or lubricant will work to prevent the rubber seals of your car doors from freezing.
Check for windscreen damage:
Check for any damage or cracks caused by small stones flying onto your windscreen. These can be a distraction when driving and impair your vision.
Winter Driving Emergency toolkit:
Always carry an emergency kit in your car and include the following items:
- High-vis vests
- Small shovel
- Reflective warning triangles
- Ice scraper
- Jump leads
- First-aid kit
- Multi-tool and window breaker
- Flashlight & Cloth
- High energy snacks.
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The information contained in this article is from https://www.aviva.ie/insurance/car-articles/is-your-car-winter-ready/. Source, Aviva November 2017. Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for content contained on external websites.