Winter Service: Preparing Your Car for the Colder Months

Car maintenance is important all year round, but in winter it becomes especially vital. The cold weather has a massive impact on your car and its ability to drive well. If you want to ensure your car is safe and reliable to drive this winter, there are a number of things you can do to prepare. When the truly hazardous conditions of ice and snow are present, this ‘how to’ guide on is a worthy read – even in less treacherous situations, though, there are number of tips any motorist can follow to prepare for the onset of colder weather.

Maintaining the battery
As the colder weather arrives, it brings with it darker mornings and evenings. You’ll often find yourself driving in darker conditions. This means you need to use your lights and heater more than usual. As stated by the AA, using your car’s wipers, heater and lights more frequently will put additional pressure on the battery. It’s important to note that a car’s battery doesn’t often last more than five years. So if yours is beginning to reach the end of its life, now is the time to replace it.

Things you can do to maintain the battery throughout the cold weather include turning the heating down and turning off wipers, and the rear screen heater before you switch the car on. Also ensuring you only use the starter for five seconds at a time when struggling to start the engine will help.

Maintaining your tyres
The tyres are the most important part of your car to keep an eye on in the winter months. ThisisMoney have produced some excellent tips for maintaining your tyres this winter. First you should make sure they are pumped up to the correct amount of pressure. It is also worth replacing them for good, all-weather tyres if your existing ones are worn down. They need to be able to have a good grip in icy conditions. There are legal requirements for the tread and pressure that you have to maintain. The tread has to be at least 1.6mm. While all-weather tyres are more affordable in the long term, it is definitely worth considering switching to winter tyres if you can afford it.

Always have a supply of anti-free with you
Anti-freeze comes in very useful in the winter months. You can add anti-freeze to the radiator to ensure it doesn’t stall. It is also a good idea to add anti-freeze to the washer fluid as this will help to de-ice your car much faster in the morning.

Maintaining your brake pads and discs
Keep in mind that in icy, cold conditions the braking distances are often reduced. Get a mechanic to look over your brake pads and discs to ensure they are in good condition. It could even be a good idea to get the car properly serviced in time for winter. That way you know that your car is 100% safe to drive. Of course, it is also important to ensure you are driving safely and that you alter your driving habits to fit the colder winter conditions.   


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