Preparing your car for the winter
Often overlooked until it’s too late, preparing your car for the winter months is an important task which shouldn’t be ignored and can cause major problems when it is. We have pulled together a checklist of the important factors you should consider as we approach winter.
Check your anti-freeze
Disproportional coolant systems will lead to overheating due to freezing. Ideally you will want to have the car's coolant system flushed before the first freeze sets in. You also need to check the system for potential leaks before adding fresh coolant.
Check your battery
Cold weather puts quite extreme demands on a car battery’s charging system so it would be worth checking the battery performance in the autumn months along with any other elements of the car’s electrical system which you will need to rely on.
Check your tyres
The obvious point to make here is to check the tread on your tyres, ensuring you have the traction to drive safe on icy roads. If you are not confident in your tyres make sure you get news tyres fitted as a priority, or invest in a set of snow tyres if you’re expecting particularly bad weather.
The second point to make about tyres is how you drive on them in the winter. Usually warm air in tyres will rise, but in colder conditions, the cooler air in your tyres will sink to the bottom instead, giving the appearance of flat looking tyres. As you drive this problem will correct itself due to the air heating up in the moving tyres, however it is important to start your journey particularly carefully and cautiously to counteract this effect.
Check your heating
You heating system needs to be working properly so check that the core isn’t leaking, that the blowers work and that the window defroster is operating as it is supposed to.
Shelter your car
If you have a garage then definitely use this for sheltering your car during the winter months. Not only will this help protect the fluids in your radiator from freezing overnight, it will also help to reduce ice on the windshield and mirrors and will even protect your paint job. Invest in a car cover if you don’t have a garage, preferably a reversible one with bright neon colours. This probably won’t save your radiator fluids from freezing but it will keep snow, ice and grit salts off your windows and paintwork.
Check your windshield wipers
If your windshield wipers have become worn or hardened as we approach the colder months, then you need to think about replacing these in order to deal with the variety of textures likely to end up on your windscreen throughout winter. Also, change the windshield wiper fluid for a solution that has anti-freeze added to it.
Maintain fluids regularly
This is important to remember for your radiator, windscreen wiper fluids and even your oil. You need to make sure your oil levels are in good order and even consider changing your oil to a lower viscosity for the colder weather, based on the recommendations for your vehicle.