Winter-proofing your car isn’t just essential for keeping yourself safe as the colder months draw closer; taking the right steps to ensure your car is ready for Winter can also save you a heap of money in case anything goes wrong. What’s more, getting your car ready now will give you peace of mind that if you do run into any trouble, you’ll be well-prepared to deal with it. Here’s our top tips to help you prepare your car for the cold Winter months ahead.
Check your car’s battery
This one is first on our list for a reason – the last thing you want is to be stuck on a country road or a motorway in minus temperatures with a dead battery. If your car is taking a long time to start when you turn the key, or your headlights are dim even with new bulbs, then it’s worth getting your battery checked; these are a two of the most common signs of a battery nearing the end of its life, and it’d be smart to get it replaced sooner rather than later.
Don’t forget de-icing spray
Car windows thick with ice in the morning? You can either sit there with engine running for ten minutes (and make yourself late for work) or blast your windows with de-icing spray and leave in seconds.
Remember to never pour boiling water over your car’s windows when they’re covered in ice – the sudden, extreme change in temperature has the potential to shatter your car’s window, making it a very dangerous thing to try and do. Just use de-icing spray instead, or at the very least a plastic window scraper.
Carry a spare phone charger
Most cars nowadays have USB charging ports that you can attach a phone cable to. If you break down for whatever reason, then it’s essential that you have a phone to call for breakdown help if you get stuck, so be sure to carry a spare cable in your car with you.
If your car is an older model that doesn’t have a charging port, then you may want to consider using a portable charging station as an alternative.
Keep your boot stocked
Your car’s boot should always be stocked with a spare wheel and container full of petrol in case of emergencies.
With Winter approaching, ensure that you’ve got a torch if you breakdown in the dark and need to open your bonnet, along with a pair of thick work gloves if you need to make any repairs. Finally, remember to keep a set of jump-start cables in case your battery dies; it’s likely that somebody will stop to try and help if you do break down, but they might not have any cables of their own!
- Good pair of gloves.
- Ice Scraper
- Snow Shovel
- Jump Cables
- Blanket / spare winter coat
Keep your lights clean
Cars get very dirty in winter, not least because of all the salt on the roads. So it’s particularly important to keep your lights clean.
Wipe down your number plate too. You could face a fine if you drive around with an unreadable or dirty registration plate.
Check your brakes
Your brakes need to be in tip-top condition, especially in winter.
If you hear them squeal, or make other noises or generate unusual sensations such as a vibration, get them checked. If you’re taking your car out after a few days left unused in the cold, set off gently and test your brakes if it’s safe to do so in case the discs, callipers or handbrake have frozen up. Also, if driving in heavy rain, there may be a build up of water on the brakes so always leave plenty of distance for breaking.
Invest in Winter tyres
If you’ve got a long commute to work and back every day, or are planning a long drive over Christmas to catch up with friends and family, then it might be worth considering buying some Winter-ready tyres. The rubber in these tyres is designed to work better at temperatures below 7 degrees, and will provide your car with extra grip if there’s ice, snow, sleet or rain on the road.
Check your car’s wipers
Your car’s windscreen wipers are vital during the Winter months. If your wipers are split or damaged they won’t clear rain away properly and will hamper your visibility, especially if you’re caught in heavy rain or snow. This could potentially result in a crash and put you and other road users in danger, so make sure to check these too.
Inside your car’s cooler is a mixture of water and anti-freeze that works to stop your coolant freezing in the engine. This will degrade over time, and needs refreshing every so often to keep your car in working order, making it an essential thing to have in the colder months.
Many garages and fast-fit outlets offer free Winter car checks and will check your car’s anti-freeze concentration for you if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Alternatively, you can buy a simple anti-freeze tool online that will tell you if you car needs topping up.
Inspect your tyre pressure
If you’re choosing not to get a new pair of Winter tyres for your car, then you should always look at your current tyres to make sure they’re adequately inflated to the right level. Tyres tend to deflate in colder conditions and this will reduce the control you have over your car when driving, so check your car’s tyres regularly (ideally at least once a month) over the Winter months.
Don’t run on fumes
Some of us wouldn’t be caught dead with at least half a tank full of petrol, whereas others are happy to drive until the tank is almost empty before refuelling. In Winter it’s prudent to be the former rather than the latter; driving in adverse conditions can make your car run out of fuel much quicker than usual, and if you get stuck in a long traffic jam due to an accident on the road you’ll want to ensure that your car stays running, so keep your tank full!
Make sure you have a blanket or coat with you. If your car has broken down the chances of your heater working are limited. So make sure you can still stay warm whilst waiting for help.
Are you covered for every eventuality?
Our tips will significantly reduce the chances of you running into trouble on the road this Winter or, but this doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
The only way to have full, complete peace of mind when you’re driving is to have comprehensive breakdown cover that looks after you in any situation. Regardless of where you are, what time of day it is or what the weather’s like, knowing that you’ll always have someone on the way to help you or your family if you ever get stuck is an invaluable lifeline that you should never go without, especially in Winter!
To find out more about the range of breakdown insurance options available through CoverMy, head over to the CoverMy website or give us a call on 0208 6269 454.
Some stats for you
59.3% at roadside fixed this is mainly fixes plus tyres.
56 minutes average call out time.
Most common faults
1. Battery Discharge
2. Engine – Component
3. Flat Tyre
4. Gearbox Failed – Manual
5. Radiator Issues
Most called out manufacturer