Winter Car Care Tips
When winter rolls in, it is important to make sure your car is ready to handle the dark, frosty nights.
With the sun barely making it to mid-afternoon, and temperatures plummeting to minus figures, driving conditions can be badly affected. Not looking after your car can lead to breakdowns and accidents, so it’s vital you keep a close eye on your vehicle this winter.
But what are the key things to do this winter to make sure your car is ready to tackle anything the Great British weather has to throw at it?
Let’s take a look at seven key things to do to keep your car winter-ready this year.
1. Make Sure Visibility Is Perfect
If you have a long commute to work, you may find you’re setting off in the dark, and returning in the dark. This makes having great visibility key for keeping your car safe.
The first thing to check is your bulbs. By performing a quick visual inspection every morning, you can make sure that everything is working as it should and that you don’t have any damaged lights.
Before the nights draw in, it is good to make sure you have a good grasp of how to change bulbs in your car, and always ensure you have some spares, just in case you may have to pull over and switch a damaged bulb on the way home.
Another downfall of rain and sleet is that the roads get wet and muddy. When driving behind a car, this is often sprayed back onto your windscreen and lights. To keep your windscreen clean, make sure you’re always topped up with screenwash which is strong enough to clean away any dirt on your screen.
One thing that is regularly overlooked is tyres. When the roads get icy and slippy though, having tyres that are fully inflated and with good grip is extremely important.
Before setting off every day, especially after an overnight frost, you should perform a visual inspection of your tyres. The main goal of this is to check the depth, which needs to be above the legal limit of 1.6mm, but also to check for any damage.
It’s also important to keep your tyres pumped up. Check your vehicle handbook and find the perfect tyre pressure for your car, before pumping them up at your local supermarket or garage.
Alternatively, if you want to be able to pump your tyres up from home, and perform regular checks of your tyre pressure, this handy double barrel foot pump with gauge is the ideal tool for you.
If your tyres are low on pressure, the chances of skidding are much higher due to a lack of grip, so performing weekly checks to make sure your tyres are at the perfect level is a quick but valuable step to getting your car winter-ready.
3. Be Prepared for Icy Windscreens
We’ve all been there. You want a few extra minutes in the warmth of your bed, and now you’re late for work. You rush outside only to find your car is iced all over.
When in a rush, it can be tempting to scrape a bit and set off, but this can be dangerous as you won’t yet have full visibility. So how do you get that windscreen clear in a quick time?
Well there are a few options, including:
A magnetic car windscreen cover. Nothing is quicker than this handy item. Its magnetic pads mean it is lightning quick to put on and take off, and its insulating material is sure to keep the ice off your windscreen. Simply take it off in the morning, and have a crystal clear windscreen straight away.
- It’s always a good idea to be armed with a can of de-icer. For a streak-free finish, there’s nothing better for quickly melting the ice away from your windscreen and getting you on your way. De-icer is also really handy to use when trying to melt ice away from locks and on windows.
- If you like to do things the traditional way, then why not roll up your sleeves and start clearing that windscreen with a soft grip ice scraper. With a cushioned handle and a sturdy plastic scraper, it is quick and easy to remove ice from your car. Just don’t forget your gloves!
If you leave your car outside on the driveway, then it can be a good idea to keep it sheltered with a car cover. And it’s not just great for the mechanics of the car, it also keeps it looking clean despite the weather conditions.
One of the things that damages cars the most over winter is the ice-cold temperatures at night. A car cover is a good way of providing an extra layer of insulation to your vehicle, which could be the difference between frozen electrics and healthy mechanics.
Make sure when choosing a car cover you get one that is made from a smooth fabric to ensure there’s no risk of scratching your car. Our YTC car cover is made from a three-layer fabric to ensure a clean removal every time.
When snow and ice rests on a car, it will eventually melt which can lead to moisture damage if it gets inside your car. Opting for a car cover means your car will always stay dry, and there will be no complications or dirt left over after ice and snow has spent a night sticking to your vehicle.
5. Keep Your Engine Warm
The most vital part of your car to keep warm during the winter is the engine. If this freezes, then you won’t be moving at all until it thaws.
Waiting for an engine to work again after a freeze can take days, so the key to not having your car stuck on your drive is prevention.
So how do you stop an engine from freezing?
The answer is antifreeze.
To make sure your engine doesn’t freeze, locate your car’s reservoir (this will be pointed out in your handbook) and then pour your mix in, taking careful note of the measurements needed that will be on your antifreeze bottle.
At YTC, we have a range of antifreeze products that are sure to keep your engine ticking over no matter how cold it gets.
Our antifreeze product is a great way of ensuring the water in your car’s engine doesn’t freeze. By dropping the freezing point, cold weather conditions won’t be enough to cause any freezing and you’ll be ready to go every morning.
For a little bit extra, why not try our coolant and antifreeze ready mix. This mix will also raise the boiling point to reduce overheating when your engine is on.
6. Do your Checks
The main thing to remember in winter is that your car goes through a lot. Wet roads, icy windscreens and freezing conditions can all be tough on a car, so the important thing to do is regularly check.
Things you must keep an eye on are:
- Windscreen washer levels. Your windscreen may get dirty fast, so make sure you can always clean it whilst driving.
- Battery health. The cold weather can be tough on electrics, as well as moisture damage, so if your battery is taking longer than usual to get started, make sure you check it or else you may get stuck.
- Fuel levels. This goes without saying, but accidents happen on wet and icy roads, so make sure you always have enough fuel to cope with diversions.
- Tyres. As mentioned above, tyres are a vital part to check.
- Oil levels. In winter and in summer, keeping on top of your oil levels can be the difference between a smooth motor and a breakdown.
- Lights check. Again, as mentioned above, keeping an eye on the condition and cleanliness of your lights is vital to maintaining clear visibility on dark nights.
- Windscreen wipers. It is vital to keep wiper blades in a good condition. If they start to wear down, it will hinder your view as the blades won’t clean your windscreen fully. Buying new ones is always a good idea to keep your screen crystal clear.
7. Keep a Survival Kit
Something that every car in winter should have, is a survival kit. Kept in the boot, a kit like this is key to keeping safe in case of a breakdown and ensuring you always have the tools to perform quick fixes on your car throughout the cold season.
Seven things to keep in your kit are:
- Something to keep you warm, such as thick clothes or a flask full of a hot drink. Don’t forget about winter essentials such as gloves and a hat. In case of breakdown, you may not have car heating and may be stranded for a while so be prepared.
- A torch or flashlight. This is vital for the obvious reason of being able to see ahead if you break down on a dark road, but is also a way of showing other cars you are there if your electrics fail and your lights cut out.
- A first aid kit. In case of an accident, having a first aid kit with such items as paracetamol, plasters and bandages inside can be a good way of keeping injuries to a minimum before further help comes.
- A pair of sturdy boots. If you run out of fuel, it could be quite a walk to the next petrol station. Also, if you need to go ask someone for help in a hurry, you may need to walk through a field. A pair of warm boots with a good grip are important to ensuring you can always travel no matter where you stop.
- A fully-charged phone, or a phone charger. If you are stuck down a country lane, being able to call someone, or check the internet to see your location, can be vital in getting home safely.
- Food and drink. If you are stuck for a while, you don’t want to go hungry or thirsty, so always keep a few sugary treats in the box just in case you may need a bit of energy. Chocolate bars, as well as cans of fizzy pop, are great ways to provide a quick burst of energy.
- A box. You may need to grab these things in a hurry, so make sure they are all kept packed in a box with a closed lid so you don’t have to search around your boot for certain items.
Winter is tough on cars and tough on roads. Being prepared for anything that may happen, and making sure your car is in perfect condition, is the best way to prevent accidents and breakdowns, and to get you through the winter season safe.
For a wide range of products to keep you and your car winter-ready this year, click here to view our winter car care collection.