Getting Your Car Winter Ready

By Jasmine Baker
Getting Your Car Winter Ready
With the winter months closing in quickly, it’s important to make sure that you and your car are winter ready. What does that mean? Well, here we hope to explain exactly the steps that you will need to take to ensure your car is in the best shape possible and the few essential items that you should always have in your car just in case the worst happens.

The last thing anyone wants to happen is to break down in the freezing cold and not be prepared, and even worse to break down when it could have been easily avoided with a few simple tasks.

Not every one is very car savvy, and knows the ins and outs of their engine, or how their battery works, or how to change their oil. But here are a few simple things that you can do to help have your car running smoothly to give you peace of mind during the winter months.

frosty windscreen

Getting A Grip

The first thing people tend to think of when getting your car ready for winter is the tyres. Having a good grip on your tyres in the colder winter conditions is really important to ensure that you don’t slip and skid, and also to ensure that your stopping distance is correct for your speed.

By law, you are required to replace your tyres when the tread depth gets to 1.6mm, however it is recommended from road side recovery services that when the tread gets to 3mm you change the tyres to ensure optimal stopping distances.

Checking your spare tyre is also a must, as not only do you need to know where it is, and how to change it should you get a flat tyre, but you also need to ensure that it also meets road safety standards.

Checking your oil is also important, low oil can cause your car to breakdown and may even lead to engine damage. Ensuring that it is topped up correctly is a simple job and can take just minutes to do.

Cleaning your lights ensures that as the nights get darker, you have the maximum illumination to be able to travel safely. Mud and salt from the road can splash up onto your lights and your number plate, so wiping them with a cloth periodically is recommended.

Your windscreen wipers need checking to ensure that there are no splits, and they fully wipe your windscreen without smearing. Topping up your screenwash is also recommended, and ensuring that you put in winter windscreen fluid so that it won’t freeze in the colder temperatures.

Having your battery checked is important. In colder weather your battery has to work harder just to turn over and start, a sluggish car is a sign that your battery is underperforming. You want to ensure that it is in top working order. An auto shop should be able to check your battery and see if it needs to be replaced, an indicator on your dashboard may also indicate if you need to get it checked.

A local garage will be able to do a winter check for you, including everything mentioned here and more, if you don’t feel confident in doing this yourself.

winter road

Packing All The Right Stuff

Having the right equipment with you in your car is just as important as making sure your car is winter ready. No one plans to break down, but should it happen, it may take a while for a recovery vehicle to get to you and with temperatures possibly hitting zero or below you need to make sure that you can keep warm and safe while waiting in your car.

Having a warm blanket or coat in your boot is helpful, as is a spare pair of gloves and warm hat. If you normally travel with children or passengers in your car, then make sure that there is enough to keep everyone warm. Having a warning triangle to place outside to advise other drivers that you have broken down will help keep you safe also. Some non-perishable snacks and bottled water are also helpful. A torch and batteries may be useful if it's dark, and a shovel can be vital if you get stuck in snow, and you need to dig your tyres out. An ice scraper and de-icer are also essential parts of your winter kit.

Hopefully this has helped you get your car winter ready, by setting aside a small amount of time to look over your car and to pack a few things in the boot you can take control of a winter break down and ensure that you are as safe and warm as you can be. Just don’t forget to have the number of your break-down service stored in your mobile phone or stashed away in your glove box, as calling for a recovery vehicle is just as vital as all the other checks you have done.