Winter car maintenance tips

Follow our tips and you should be ready to face anything the winter weather throws at you.

Winter car maintenance tips

Cooler, and sometimes icy climates call for a few extra measures to make sure your car is well equipped for the winter months. 

 

Follow our tips and you should be ready to face anything the winter weather throws at you.

Your car battery

Battery problems are more likely in winter, as the cold weather takes its toll on its ability to create power. At the same time, it's called upon to do more work, thanks to the increased use of lights, heaters, etc. 

If you find that your car is taking a while to start, the battery probably needs replacing (they tend to last around five years). In the meantime, fire up the ignition in five-second bursts, then wait 30 seconds before trying again.

Visibility

In winter, there are two issues with visibility: what you can see and whether your car can be seen.

The first means that you need to keep your windscreen clear at all times (never start driving before it’s fully clear). From the inside, use the air conditioning to demist it, as it's faster and reduces condensation. To keep the outside clear, you’ll need wiper blades in good condition, so replace them if they’re worn. The screenwash might also need a special winter additive to stop it from freezing.

To make sure your car is seen by others, check all the lights are working correctly, and get any faulty bulbs replaced quickly. Bear in mind that you’ll need to use your lights more in winter, too: a good rule of thumb is that even if it’s not the evening or night-time, when you have to use your windscreen wipers, you should switch your lights on too…

Antifreeze

A bottle of antifreeze is only a few quid, but it’s well worth the money, as it could save your car’s engine from freezing up and cracking – which will cost you thousands to fix.

In winter, aim for a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, which will protect your engine at temperatures well below freezing. If you’ve been topping the water levels up over the summer, this will dilute the level of antifreeze, so you should top it up as autumn hits. If in doubt, you can pick up an antifreeze tester for a few pounds at a car accessories store.

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