With the Beast From The East supposedly on its way (yet again), it’s important for drivers to expect the unexpected. Despite the UK not receiving weather like the arctic, it’s crucial to fuel up on your car maintenance skills. Here are some tips to keep your car from freezing over this winter.
Check your lights
Struggling to find the light at the end of the deep dark tunnel? It’s time to tick car lights off of your winter checklist. Along with winter comes bad weather and darker nights. This will affect your ability to see the road as well as reducing the ability of other road users to see you. Be sure to clean your headlights, fog lights and brake lights with a damp cloth before journeying away as clogged salt and dirt can reduce the effectiveness of car lights.
Moreover, you should always make sure to keep your lights on during the dark winter season (but dip the headlights to avoid dazzling other road users) and carry extra lightbulbs with you in case of a failure.
Consider buying winter wipers
Despite being a crucial part of a car, windscreen wipers are paid little to no attention, yet we’ve all had those drastic mornings where icy conditions have taken a toll on our car wipers. Everything from cracks and splits in the blades will break wipers, leaving you with nothing but a grime-filled windscreen. To prevent streaks and smears, why not make use of winter wipers?
What makes winter wipers different to the usual wiper is that winter wipers feature thick rubber, which means none of the exposed parts of the wiper can get clogged up with dirt, ice or snow. The frame of the wiper itself is sturdy and the exterior of the rubber remains flexible during the harshest of weathers in comparison to non-winter wipers that freeze up in cold conditions. And whilst we’re on the subject of windscreens, remember to top up your windscreen washer fluid to ensure that you have a clean windscreen no matter what weather you’re driving in.
Invest in winter tyres
From the temperatures plunging us into black ice, snow and everything in between, it’s important to change your tyres for the freezing season. Winter tyres may sound like a misleading title to those that aren’t familiar with them. They aren’t wheels that plug through the snow with spiky studs like a wheel-shaped hedgehog, they simply feature rubber compounds that won’t lose flexibility in cold conditions.
If you frequently drive in the winter or even wet conditions, winter tyres will offer you better traction and greater grip in cold conditions, especially when temperatures drop below 7C. Despite being expensive, they’re definitely an investment that will be sure to keep you that bit safer during the winter. A great winter tyre is the Dunlop SP Wintersport 3D that provides drivers with improved wet and dry grip and higher performance in winter weather.
Also, ensure that you have the correct tyre pressure. The PSI of your tyres can be found in the vehicle manufacturers guide if you’re unsure. You can even buy a tyre pressure kit to keep at home if getting to a petrol station is difficult in the wintry weather.
Inspect the car battery
According to the AA, the average life of a battery is around 5 years. If you can hear faint noises when you turn the key in the ignition, the engine is far too slow when starting, or if the battery light is illuminated, there’s most likely something up with your battery.
It would be a good idea to check the battery terminals before you set off as battery failure is more likely to occur when the temperature drops. You should check if there is any visible damage such as corrosion, which you can simply amend with the right equipment, or leave it to the professionals to fix.
Create a winter emergency kit
Sensing jolts whilst ploughing your way through the snow? Your car might be struggling to stay alive. To prevent being stranded in the snow, it’s critical that you stock up on a winter emergency kit to keep you safe if you do break down.
A winter emergency kit should include an array of different items. Be sure to keep spare clothing and winter boots in your car to keep you warm as you’ll need them if your car does come to a halt. Be sure to keep an extra phone in the car if your personal phone runs out of battery so you are able to contact relevant breakdown services. Other items in your emergency kit should include an ice scraper, a first aid kit, a flashlight, jump leads, a warning triangle and high energy (non-perishable) food to ensure you have something nutritious to consume if you are stranded for a long period of time.
So, if you are ever stuck in the season of delays this winter, you’ll be sure to stay safer with your newfound knowledge on car maintenance skills to prepare your car for winter this year.