Is your car winter ready? Preparing your car for the cold weather can help protect you against accidents or breakdowns.
This article will look at the critical checks, preparation, and supplies to prepare your car for winter driving.
As the weather worsens, checking your car is ready for the winter before it is too late is advisable.
Checking your tyre tread depth to ensure they aren’t worn will give you better traction in slippy conditions. Your tread must be a minimum of 1.6mm by law in the UK. If you are even close to this coming into winter, you might want to consider replacements.
Checking car batteries should always be a part of preparing for colder weather. A flat battery is bad at any time, but it is even worse during the winter.
You will be able to check the health of your car battery using a home battery tester or by getting a professional to help.
Checking antifreeze levels in your engine’s cooling system will help you to avoid your system freezing in the dead of winter.
To check your engine coolant level, ensure you have a cold engine before taking off the radiator cap. Start the engine and allow the engine to reach operating temperature. Insert the probe of a digital multimeter that has been set to 20 DC volts or less.
Rev to 2,000 rpm before placing the probe onto the negative battery terminal. Look for a reading of .4 volts or below. Anything over this shows that coolant is needed.
Screen wash levels should be regularly checked as wet weather, salt, and dirt on the roads can make visibility challenging if you cannot efficiently clean your windscreen. Checking that your washer fluid is topped up regularly is advisable.
The winter months in the UK are naturally quite dark. Ensuring your lights work will allow other road users to see you in dim light.
You must have the correct insurance cover anytime you want to drive. Because the winter weather can cause a lot of accidents, getting more protection could help.
If you find your insurance policy is due to run out, temporary car insurance that offers a higher level of protection than you usually get can be a great solution.
GoShorty offers temporary car insurance and temporary learner driver insurance, so you won’t have to pay for an entire year’s policy. You can select your cover before deciding whether you want to continue with the same level of protection for the rest of the year.
After checking your car, you will be able to protect certain parts from the bad weather in the UK by performing some essential car maintenance.
Clean and protect the car battery terminals
If you have checked your car battery and it is in good health for the coming winter, cleaning the terminals and using a protectant spray will help them make it through the winter without corrosion.
Protecting your window tracks from drag caused by freezing water can help you avoid damaging them. Spraying the window tracks with a lubricant should minimise this risk.
Lubricate stripping, door locks, hinges and latches
Cleaning and lubricating the weather stripping between car doors can minimise the risk of your car doors freezing shut.
Lubricating door locks will also help minimise their freezing or corroding.
Lubricating your hood latch and door hinges are also recommended to ensure you don’t suffer from any corrosion during winter. Metal parts are particularly at risk because of the road salt and water at this time.
Fit winter tyres
Switching from summer tyres to winter tyres can be expensive and might not be necessary for most UK. They offer better grip and handling but work best in conditions below 7°C.
This can be a good option for those that use their car a lot during the winter.
Fit winter wiper blades
Winter blades are designed, so they don’t get packed with snow. A packed wiper blade will leave streaks across the windshield, reducing visibility.
Make A Winter Car Survival Kit
Now that your vehicle is winter-ready, you should consider packing and keeping an emergency kit in your car for winter. A well-stocked vehicle will be able to help you in any situation.
Keeping a small LED torch in your car during the winter is always helpful. Most phones will have a torch, but having a separate light source can be invaluable if you are using your phone or trying to preserve the battery.
Mobile phone charger
If you are involved in an accident or break down, your phone will be a vital lifeline. Having a phone charger and even a portable battery pack will help should you run out of battery.
Pen and paper
A pen and paper are always handy to have in your car. This can be useful for taking down information on the phone or other drivers’ information if you are involved in an accident.
A basic tool kit should include duct tape, an adjustable wrench, pliers, and screwdrivers. You might not be able to fix all car problems, but having these tools can help resolve minor issues.
Grit or cat litter
If the temperature drops when you are out, it is possible that your vehicle can get stuck on ice or snow. Carrying grit or cat litter will allow the tyres to gain traction and get you moving again.
Even if you have checked your battery before winter, mistakes like leaving the lights on can drain it. Keeping jumper cables in your can help you deal with a flat battery should it occur.
Having a foldable shovel in your car won’t take up much space but can be helpful if there is heavy snowfall and you need to dig your car out.
First aid kit
A first aid kit should be kept in all cars to help deal with minor scrapes or cuts in an accident.
Making sure you have warm clothes in your car during winter is advisable if you break down. Every winter survival kit should include a hat, gloves, and jacket.
Waterproof clothing or an umbrella can help if you wait outside the car in freezing rain.
Hi-visibility clothing, such as a bib, vest, or armband, should be included to make you more visible to other road users.
If you break down in the winter and have to wait for breakdown assistance, having a warm blanket in your car will help keep you warm.
Carrying warning triangles in case of an accident will allow you to alert other road users a safe distance away. This is especially important in winter when visibility is low and stopping distances are increased by wet or icy roads.
Scraper and de-icer
Being able to clear your windscreen and windows is important in the winter as you need to ensure you have maximum visibility. De-icer and a scraper will make this job a lot easier.
Food and drink
Having water and food in your car is essential if you get snowed in or break down. Bottled water and high-energy cereal bars should last through the winter.
Preparing your car for the winter will improve road safety and ensure you are ready for the worst-case scenario. Safely storing a winter emergency kit in your boot won’t take up much space but could be important.