We are in for one of the coldest starts to a year ever, with snowy weather likely to kick in next week.
Regardless of the weather warning, we are all too familiar with the sight of flustered and badly-prepared drivers de-icing their vehicles with bottles of water and credit cards. With as little as eight hours of light every day and the temperature dropping overnight, make certain your car is road-fit with our maintenance checklist:
1. Screen wash
Refill your vehicle’s washer fluid on a regular basis and give yourself time to de-mist your car’s windows and mirrors; a hurried job could leave smudges on your windscreen, making it harder to see clearly in the low winter sun.
2. Exterior lights
Clean your vehicle’s headlights every day to make certain you can see and be seen. Dirt and salt can rapidly build up, decreasing visibility at nightfall and in bad weather conditions. Clear the dirt from your car’s number plate to make sure your motor is easily detectable.
3. Car Battery
Icy and dank weather is a vehicle battery’s nemesis. If you have the right kit you can test a car battery yourself, but it’s simpler and advocated that you seek assistance from a professional.
4. Winter Tyres
It’s critical to methodically check the pressure and tread depth of your tyres, which can help braking and control in winter weather. The legal tyre tread depth threshold is 1.6mm. For regular winter drivers, winter tyres offer extra traction when temperatures fall below seven-degrees, and on ice and snow.
Make certain your car’s anti-freeze level is filled up regularly. Ensuring you have the right concentration is essential for the well-being of your vehicle’s engine. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s advice, but the concentrate should always be diluted with water before use – a concentration of 40% to 50% (by volume) is recommended.
6. Oil level
Use your vehicle’s dipstick to check the engine oil level weekly and top up the oil if necessary. A low oil level could cause your car’s engine to break down.
7. Winter Car Kit
It may seem a little over the top to carry an emergency kit in the car, but wintry weather can be very changeable. Pack for every possibility and make sure you have the following:
- De-icer and a scraper
- Mobile phone and charger
- Warning triangle
- Hi-visibility vest
- Warm clothing
- Winter boots
- Food and drink
- A tow rope
- A torch
Perrys motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, drives thousands of miles a year across Europe testing cars. He comments: “It’s vital to maintain the upkeep of a car during the British winter, not only to preserve its value and perk up fuel economy, but also because insufficient maintenance can be unsafe and possibly cause a collision. Generally, faults can be detected by a walk-around vehicle check; by reacting to a difference in the handling of the car; and by responding to warning lights as soon as they appear on the vehicle’s dashboard.”