Preparing Your Car For Winter

07 October 2016 / Lindleys Autocentres

Winter, of all seasons, requires the most attention and preparation to keep yourself and other road users safe whilst driving. Your MOT and a regular service will ensure the safety of your vehicle up to a point, but as the weather starts to turn, there are some additional safety considerations.

Your car is almost twice as likely to breakdown during the winter months than at any other time of year. Here are some precautions you should take, over and above a Service and MOT, to ensure you and your car are safe for the winter.

Caution: Take care when checking your vehicle’s components. Some components get very hot when running so before checking these give your car plenty of time to rest and cool down.

Battery

Nottingham breakdown companies get more callouts for batteries than any other problem. Cold temperatures affect the way batteries store and produce electricity, reducing the battery’s ability to hold the charge. Your battery gets checked as part of your car service, but if you haven’t had a service recently, and your battery is more than three years old, it’s worth bringing your car to Lindley’s Autocentres in Nottingham to get it checked out.

Some other things you can do to avoid your battery draining include:

  • Remembering to switch off the lights, windscreen wipers and heaters etc. before switching off the engine. Doing this prevents any unnecessary drain of the battery.
  • Even though it’s cold outside, try to keep the use of heaters to the bare minimum as they put a high demand on the vehicle’s battery.
  • If possible, park your vehicle in a sheltered location, ie. a garage.

If you’re concerned your battery isn’t functioning as it should, don’t hesitate to contact our team and bring your car down to Lindley’s Autocentres in Nottingham. We provide full battery and alternator diagnostics to determine the cause of the problem and will discuss our findings with you before any work is undertaken.

Screenwash

High quality screenwash is essential because there is a risk of your water pump freezing, which can lead to a blown fuse and wipers not working. It is important to make sure you have enough screenwash and that it is suitable for the winter conditions. Not all screenwash is the same, look for the temperature it protects down to. A decent screenwash will offer protection down to ­10 degrees C (even lower if your area’s weather conditions are below that temperature).

Tyres

In Winter, making sure your car tyres are in a good condition is extremely important. You should keep your eyes open for things such as bulges, cracks and cuts as well as checking the tread depth. Anything less than 1.6mm can put you and any passengers at serious risk. You should also check your tyre pressure, as low pressure can result in excessive tyre wear, the vehicle pulling to one side and reduced fuel economy.

If you’re looking for cheap tyres, we do advise that you avoid part worn car tyres, particularly in the winter. However, Lindleys Autocentres stock a large variety of car tyres in all types, sizes and brands to offer you the highest quality to suit every budget. We also stock winter tyres for added road safety.

Lindleys Autocentres also stocks a range of quality winter tyres, which improves traction and overall safety during the cold winter weather.

Coolant

Your coolant levels are checked as part of your service, but as the winter approaches, you also need to check the quantities of anti­freeze. If you’re unsure of how to do this, look in your vehicle’s handbook or pop into Lindley’s Autocentres in Nottingham and we can check the strength. This will save greatly on the cost of later repairs to damage caused by frozen engine parts.

Wiper Blades

If your wiper blades happen to become frozen to the windscreen, it is very easy to damage them when freeing them. Check your blades for any damages and replace if necessary.

Winter Supplies

As well as preparing your car for the winter it’s also advisable to assemble an emergency kit to keep you safe in case of breakdown. Consider keeping the following items in your car, in case of emergencies:

  • Ice scraper & de­icer to clear your windscreen of ice before setting off. de­ice your vehicle before setting off.
  • Jump start cables in case of battery failure.
  • Shovel in case of getting stuck in snow.
  • Sunglasses to prevent being dazzled by the glare off the snow.
  • A warm blanket.
  • Bottle of water.
  • Hi­visibility jacket.

It’s easy to rely on a Service or MOT to tell you when there’s something wrong with your car but even with an up to date MOT and full service history, breakdowns can still occur. In the winter this could be costly and even dangerous. So be sure to check your vehicle ahead of the bad weather. And if you have any concerns with your vehicle, even if they weren’t picked up in your Service or MOT, be sure to visit Lindley’s Autocentres in Nottingham and get it checked out as soon as you can. We also provide winter checks and a full winter service. If your service is due during the winter, we would also advise you to get it booked in before winter starts. Just give us a call or come and see us for details.

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