Some winter car prep tips
THE chill of winter is well and truly upon us, and with it comes harsh driving conditions as well as some special needs for your vehicle. Here are five winter tips, courtesy of the AA, to keep you and your car safe through the freezing months ahead.
Perform system checks Ensuring your car is adequately prepared to venture out in winter weather means making sure that the various systems are up to correct operating condition.
Battery/charging system Cold zaps battery life. Check to make sure the battery and charging system are at optimum performance.
Brakes Have the brakes checked. In all vehicles, the braking system is arguably the most important safety system. Without it working properly, you don’t stand a chance of stopping in time. With it at optimum performance, you have some measure of confidence.
Keep your headlights bright Your headlights can often be overlooked, but on those overcast winter days or if you are travelling at night, they are crucial for your safety. Ensure that you check that your vehicle’s lights are switched on, that they are functioning properly, and that the focus of the beams are correctly adjusted.
Check your anti-freeze Your anti-freeze is an essential element for ensuring your car’s protection this winter. Make sure the mixture of water and anti-freeze is as close to 50/50 as possible and at optimum level. Many petrol stations will check this for you free of charge. Note that some anti-freeze comes pre-mixed and do not require the addition of any water.
Keep a safe following distance The average safe following distance for good weather is three seconds, but with the reduced visibility and harsh weather conditions in winter, you will need to reduce your speed and increase your following distance. We suggest that you increase your following distance to four seconds or more, as this will increase your braking- and reaction time as well as make up for any lost visibility. Be alert and look out for frosty road patches With winter comes the increased possibility of icy road patches, fog and other problematic occurrences. During winter, roads can sometimes be covered with frost or ice, but drivers often assume that when they see long stretches of clear road that the frost has cleared entirely. This is not the case, as there are often slippery patches as the road thaws, therefore extra vigilance is imperative.
Air-conditioning A common misconception is that air-conditioning is only important for the summer. Your vehicle’s air-con has two main purposes; cooling the interior cabin and keeping the inside of the vehicle dry. The air-conditioning system also operates as a de-humidifier, which will reduce windscreen misting on cold mornings. Make sure that your air-conditioning system is fully operational.
Tyres Check tyre condition to see if there is adequate tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check the pressure. If you live in an area particularly at risk of snow consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you greater traction and control.
Screenwash Make sure you have enough screenwash and that the concentration is suitable for cold conditions. Not all screenwash is the same so look for the temperature it protects down to. You should be looking for protection down to down to -10 degrees C and if you live in areas subject to the greatest extremes of weather, down to -20 degrees C. If you don’t use a good quality screenwash there is a danger your washer pump could freeze which might lead to the fuse blowing and your wipers not working because they are often on the same fuse.
— Drive Times
To ensure your car thrives all winter long simply give it a good check up.