Winter Preparations for You and Your Car
Are you and your car ready for winter? The first frosts are likely to be on us fairly soon, and the clocks are going back. Long, cold, dark winter evenings will soon be a fact of life, as will driving home in the dark. Have you done all you need to make sure that you and your car are winter-fit? Follow this handy checklist and you will soon know
- If you haven’t had your car serviced recently, now is a good time. Either do a quick check yourself, if you’re competent, or take it to your local garage. Ask them to check the tyre treads, in particular, and if they’re getting close to being dangerous, replace them now, before you skid on ice. You should also get them to check the levels of anti-freeze, and top up if necessary.
- Make sure that your windscreen wash bottle is topped up with screenwash liquid that won’t freeze at low temperatures. That means using it at a higher concentration than in the summer, and you’ll probably need more than usual, so stock up ahead of time.
- With salt and grit on the roads, your car will get much dirtier than usual, and salt is corrosive. So you’ll need to wash it more often during the winter to prevent any corrosion. But that’s a good opportunity to make sure that your headlights and number plate remain clear and clean, which is essential for safe driving in the dark.
- Make sure that your car is stocked up for winter. Buy some windscreen de-icer, and a good ice scraper or two. You should also get a small bag of de-icing salt to keep in the car for emergencies. It’s a good idea to carry a winter emergency kit: as well as the scraper and salt, a blanket, spade, torch and batteries, some non-perishable food and drink and some old sacks.
- Brush up on your winter driving technique with this handy guide to driving in snow and ice. Yes, of course the best advice is not to do it, but if you have to, then be as safe as you can. If you’ve got time, how about taking a skid-pan driving course as well? They’re great fun, very useful for giving you more confidence about driving in snow and ice, and can even lower your insurance premiums!
- If you’re the sort of person who has to drive even in snow, then you might want to consider investing in some snow chains. Although most major roads will be gritted, and will clear fairly soon even of heavy snow, minor roads can stay snowy for much longer. So if you need to get out of the house, and your road is not gritted, it may be worth your while. Do check whether you can fit snow chains to your car, and particularly whether you will need new wheels. And you will also need to practise putting on the snow chains ahead of time, as although it’s not difficult, it can be a bit complicated the first few times you try.
Hopefully, you and your car are now ready for anything winter can throw at you!