Car Maintenance Tips for the Winter
As the cold winter season arrives, it becomes crucial to ensure our cars are in optimal condition. Are you uncertain about where to begin? 🤔 With temperatures dropping below zero in certain regions of the UK, it is essential for car owners to consider ways to safeguard themselves and their vehicles when driving in extreme weather conditions. Winter driving places significant demands on our cars, which is why it is wise to thoroughly inspect and ensure the proper functioning of every component before setting out on the road.
Why Perform Checks?
With a number of simple checks, you can help reduce the chances of your car breaking down. Proper preparation for winter driving will also make it easier for your car, especially when you’re driving in snow and ice. If your car needs some repairs, do your best to get it done immediately.
Fixing car problems as soon as possible can help a great deal in preventing more expensive repairs during winter. Also, if your car breaks down, the recovery fee is more costly during the winter season. Getting stranded is already inconvenient. The last place anyone would want to be is broken down on the side of the road in the freezing cold... ❄️
Essential Tips for Winter Car Maintenance
At the minimum, perform all regular checks on your car before the winter season comes. And also think about this if you have a long road trip, especially in winter - you should really do the checks both before and after any long road trip. This means checking the lights, tyre pressures, coolant level, and oil level. See to it that your car gets serviced as well, especially if it’s been a long time since the last one. This way, an expert auto mechanic can inspect the car and ensure that everything’s working well.
Don’t forget to check the vehicle for any electrical and mechanical faults. These things could cause your car to break down in the most unexpected time and you wouldn’t want to get stuck out there in the cold. Test all of the vehicle’s systems thoroughly so that you can determine if anything needs immediate attention.
Check the Car’s Antifreeze
Antifreeze, also known as coolant, is a crucial fluid used in a car's cooling system to prevent freezing and overheating of the engine. It is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol (or other additives) that serves multiple purposes.
Firstly, antifreeze lowers the freezing point of the coolant, allowing it to remain in a liquid state even in extremely cold temperatures. This prevents the coolant from turning into ice and potentially causing damage to the engine block, radiator, or other cooling system components.
The cooling system of the car should have the right amount of antifreeze, otherwise, the car might fail when the thermometer falls below zero. To perform this check, you can buy an antifreeze tester, and then check the handbook so you’ll know what’s the correct mixture and the type of antifreeze to use.
You also have the option to go to a local garage and have this check performed by a specialist instead. Of course, the rest of the car’s cooling system should also be tested. Check the water pump, coolant hoses, and radiator for any damage and leaks.
Proper Care for the Battery
Cold temperatures can damage your car’s battery, especially if you’re not using your vehicle on a regular basis. If you’ve observed that the car doesn’t start immediately at low temperatures, that’s a sign that the battery is failing.
Don’t wait for it to fail completely before taking the car to a local garage. Get the battery replaced as soon as possible. If the battery goes flat after a few days of not driving, you may want to consider buying a trickle charger to prevent this from happening.
Why not check out our top car battery maintenance tips?
Test the Lights’ Brightness
All of the lights in your car should work well before you head out and drive in winter. Check if the lenses are faded or damaged. If they are, you may buy a scratch repair kit to resolve this issue. It’s also a good idea to have spare bulbs in your vehicle as well so you’re always prepared in case the lights fail.
If you have an older car, consider upgrading the bulbs to more powerful ones so that they’ll be much brighter. They’ll help a great deal in improving visibility. See to it that the bulbs you choose are compatible with your car. If you’re not sure, consult your local auto mechanic for the best options.
Inspect the Brakes
Observe your car for any shakes, squeals, and rattles. The brake pedal shouldn’t be soft as well. If you notice any of these characteristics, it’s an undeniable sign that the braking system of the car needs to be fixed immediately.
On snowy and icy roads, the stopping distances are greatly increased, so faulty brakes might lead to you losing control of your car and colliding with another vehicle. Prevent car accidents from happening by getting the brakes checked by an expert.
Change the Tyres
The tyres’ quality and condition can make a lot of difference when it comes to the performance of your car as you’re driving in winter. If the tyres are punctured or the sidewalls are damaged, it will be much more difficult to control your car on icy and snowy roads.
Check and re-check your tyres thoroughly. If the tread is already low or there are any signs of damage, replace them with high-quality tyres. Don’t risk your safety by trying to save some money on cheaper but low-quality tyres.
Doing these checks before winter sets in will save you from the inconvenience and misery of being stuck in the middle of nowhere, waiting for help. Do your best to get everything inspected before you head out for winter driving. It’s better to be sure that all parts of your car are working excellently than be sorry later. If you’re unsure what to do, either take your car to a local garage so an expert can perform the checks or why not check out our blog on the best car maintenance apps.
If you drive an electric car you might be interested in our article on driving electric cars in winter. ❄️