Is your car ready for winter?
It's amazing how many people don’t make any special winter car care preparations with their car for the onset of bad weather, and sometimes severe weather conditions, when winter is on its way. Of course, once we've had a particularly bad experience driving, or just trying to get on the move in the first place in the winter, we suddenly become acutely aware of how important proper car care and winter car maintenance really is. Preparations for winter driving can be split into two groups really; the first is where the car itself is put into the best possible shape for the inclement weather, and the second is a list of things to have with you to cope with all reasonable winter weather scenarios.
Preparing your car
First, unless you've very recently had it done, get your oil and filter changed. Not that it has particularly anything to do with the cold, but as the oil in your car is like the blood in your veins it makes sense to start the most challenging driving conditions of the year with your engine's oil in the best possible shape.
And talking of fluids, your engine coolant needs to have the right mix of water and antifreeze in it so it works the way it should, and doesn’t freeze. If your coolant freezes, you’re not going anywhere for quite a while. It's the same story with your window wash too. Having it topped up with water to keep your windscreen clean is one thing, but if you don’t have the right amount of screen wash in the water it can also freeze-up completely, and that's not something you want when there's so much slush, snow, dirt and salt being thrown up at your screen.
Your car's battery takes a serious hammering in the winter as your lights will be on more than ever, as will other features that draw electricity such as your heater, de-mister and heated seats and steering wheel, if you have them. Make sure it's fully charged, and a winter check at the garage will get the alternator checked to make sure it's charging the battery properly. If it's not charging fully and it's more than five years old, it's probably a good idea to get it replaced before it lets you down.
Your tyres are even more important in the winter than they are when the weather is good, so what might be acceptable in fine conditions might not be good enough when things get slippery underneath. Check and make sure they have plenty of tread and no uneven wear, and if you’re in any doubt, get an expert to look them over for you.
Winter equipment checklist
It's possible to write an almost inexhaustible list of things that might come in handy if you get caught out in your car in bad weather, but some items are pretty essential. The most important things to have with you are de-icer and a scraper, a shovel, a mobile phone and charger, a torch, and a set of jump leads.
Other items that might be a good idea to carry, especially if you’re going on a fairly long journey and there's a good chance of really bad weather, include:
· Hazard warning triangle
· High-visibility vest
· First aid kit
· Tow rope
· Wellington boots
· Some warm, dry clothes
· Food and drink
· A map
The best way of ensuring your car is ready for winter is to get it checked over by our professional team here at Monty's Sheffield, so get booked in now before you get caught out.