The winter is a hostile time for motorists and it can be even worse if you don’t take care of your car. By maintaining your vehicle you can help those winter months run a little smoother, and keep the pennies in your pocket.
Whether or not you know your way around a car engine, it’s easy to keep your car in tip top condition. Follow these simple tips and you’ll keep your car happy even on the coldest of days.
Check your tyres regularly
You should keep an eye on the condition of your tyres all year round, but be extra vigilant during the winter. As the temperatures drop, the dreaded potholes begin to appear, and they can do serious damage to your tyres. Drive slowly and if you do hit one, pull over in a safe place to check your tyre.
Check your tyre pressure regularly and top them up with air if necessary. Not only will under-inflated tyres reduce your fuel efficiency but they can also cause unnecessary wear.
You should always keep an eye on your tread. The legal limit for tread depth in the UK is 1.6 millimetres across the central 3/4 of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.
If the tread on your tyres is not deep enough you are putting yourself and other drivers at risk. When driving in snow and ice this is particularly important as tyres with less tread don’t grip the road as well.
Top up your fluids
You should regularly check your anti-freeze levels, and top it up when necessary. Anti-freeze prevents your engine and radiators from freezing in cold weather, so it’s vital that you keep your anti-freeze levels between the min and max marks.
Check your oil levels on a weekly basis. Pull out your dipstick, wipe it, put it back, and pull it out again. The oil on the dipstick should be between the min and max marks at all times. Low oil levels can be extremely damaging to your engine, as it’s what keeps everything in your engine going. If you don’t check it regularly you could end up with a very costly repair bill.
You need to make sure that you are visible to others, as well as having good visibility yourself. During the winter months, days are often shorter, with snow, rain and fog leading to poor visibility. You will need to use your lights more than at any other time of year, so make sure they work!
Icy windscreens are also an issue at this time of year, with many of us forced to scrape our windscreens on a daily basis. Do not drive away until your windscreen is completely clear, and any condensation on the inside has cleared. Put your blowers on full, and make sure you’re equipped with de-icer and a scraper at all times.
Look after your battery
Car batteries are under much more pressure during the winter, as we use our heaters, lights and blowers more. Make sure you turn blowers off as soon as your windscreen is clear and always double check you’ve turned your lights off.
Car batteries generally last around 5 years. If you think yours is coming to the end of its lifespan consider replacing it before the big chill hits.
This guest post was provided by Isabelle Guarella