Some win­ter car prep tips

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

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.

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