Preparing and checking your car for winter may seem like a bit of a chore but spending a few minutes of your time on it can save your bacon and your wallet. Read on and we’ll tell you what to do…
We never tire of talking about tyres. And that’s because it’s massively important they are kept in peachy condition, especially throughout the winter months. Your tread depth should be at least 1.6 mm deep over the central 3/4 breadth of the tyre and round the full circumference – This is a legal requirement by the way. Most insurance companies recommend a minimum of 2mm and in snow and ice the more tread the better. Take a look at our post on Tyre Safety for more info on how to check yours are tip top condition.
It is well worth checking your engine coolant, this should have been done when your car was last serviced, but you need to ensure you have enough antifreeze concentration to prevent it from freezing during the winter. Usually down to -20 should be sufficient for the UK, even in the harshest of winters.
Make sure the concentration of washer fluid to water is strong enough for the minimum temperature you are likely to encounter. Remember if the washer fluid freezes in your washer reservoir it could burst (very expensive). If it freezes in the washer jets then you won’t be able to keep your windscreen properly clear. Top tip, NEVER use washing up liquid or similar in place of proper washer fluid, it will form a soap scum and eventually block the washer pump filter preventing your washers from working, and that’s not a good thing!
In your car it is a good idea to carry a blanket, extra clothing including gloves and a hat. You should always remember to keep a good waterproof coat in the car, if you break down and the engine won’t start it can get very cold waiting for the recovery vehicle. If you get stuck in snow it could be a long cold night waiting for a snowplough to get through if your not properly prepared.
Finally remember to increase your safety margins in poor weather conditions. It can take 10 times further to stop in snow or ice, so that’s 20 seconds separation distance instead of the usual minimum of 2 seconds.