The days are getting shorter, the nights are much chillier, and soon it’ll be Christmastime — winter is coming. Winter can be challenging at times, but there’s plenty to enjoy — like cocoa, fires in the garden, or Christmas presents! To help you prepare, we’ve put together a car winter checklist to make sure you’re safe and comfortable during winter. And remember these few helpful tips on how to drive in unpredictable conditions.
Get a winter service.
Stop putting it off! Winter is coming, and your vehicle needs a service. Doing it before the cold weather arrives will help maintain its performance and be suitable for any minor problems. It’s also great for preventing more significant problems from happening. A winter service car also keeps you in the loop that everything is tip-top and ready for driving in cold, frosty conditions. This includes checking your battery, tyres, antifreeze, coolant and wiper blades. Your engine oil levels will also be re-checked.
Even if you do get a service, there are a few other things to keep in mind during the winter months to ensure your vehicle remains roadworthy, which we’ve listed below.
Check the battery
Car batteries last an average of 3-5 years. If your battery is approaching the end of its life, the last thing you want is for it to die when you’re out on the road during a snowstorm. Keep in mind that cold temperatures reduce the output of a car battery, plus you’ll likely be using your lights and heater more often. This season will probably guzzle up a lot of energy. Having your battery replaced a little before it’s necessary means you won’t risk having an issue when you need it the most.
Do you have enough antifreeze?
Antifreeze is pretty neat stuff! It prevents the freezing of water in your car radiator during winter. It does this by lowering the liquid’s freezing point, making it much harder for ice to form on the engine. This helps keep your car running smoothly.
As if this isn’t clever enough, antifreeze simultaneously increases the boiling point of engine coolant to stop it from overheating, prevents corrosion within the engine, and aids heat transfer for higher performance. Needless to say, make sure you always have some on hand.
Tyre pressure and tread depth are crucial.
A vehicle’s tyres are subjected to a lot of strain, particularly during poor weather conditions when ice, slush, snow and sharp objects on the ground pose a threat. Your tyres are central for both steering and stopping, so you should regularly check their pressure and correct it when needed. Winter tyres should have a tread depth of 3mm and no lower than 1.6mm; this will give you good traction on snow and ice. Otherwise, it may be worth swapping your current set for Winter tires that offer better grip in the snow.
Keep the lights clean.
November to February can be some of the darkest months of the year, and it often gets wet too. This can make driving or walking treacherous and impair your visibility which isn’t ideal for either you or other pedestrians. Keeping your lights, indicators, and rear reflectors clean can make it easier to see where you’re going and being seen by other motorists.
As you’re driving in low light, checking your headlights, fog lights, and indicators is a good idea. These need to be fine-tuned in addition to your usual safety checks.
Carry a winter car kit
When travelling in a car, it is best to always have a spare battery, screen wash, warning triangles and a high-vis vest. In situations where your vehicle battery dies or becomes flat, you can use the jump leads from the car to jump-start your vehicle. However, there are a few winter items every car should have just in case:
- Scraper and de-icer
- Smartphone power bank
- Blankets and warm clothes (hats, jumpers, scarves, gloves)
- Sunglasses (It’s amazing just how bright that low winter sun can be.)
- Strong boots with good grip in case you need to walk somewhere for assistance
Be prepared for longer journeys.
Even if you’re doing the usual commute or driving somewhere you’ve been countless times before; winter weather can cause sudden delays. It will only happen sometimes, but there’s a small chance that it could be up to an hour or so. Hopefully, the extra few minutes you’ll have to spend will hardly make any difference. Tips for a more comfortable and safe winter driving experience:
- Check the weather forecast and travel news
- Consult Google Maps to see if there are any disruptions
- Allow extra time for the journey to be on the safe side
- If you’re quite low on fuel, pop to the nearest petrol station ASAP
- Have your scraper and de-icer at the ready
- Make sure your smartphone is fully charged before leaving
- A vacuum flask of tea, coffee or hot chocolate can make all the difference!
Protect your vehicle from frost
It’s recommended that you keep your vehicle inside a garage when you’re not driving. That way, it doesn’t have to stay outside and risk corrosion or weather damage. If you don’t have a garage, and even if you do, a thick car cover will help stop ice on your windscreen. Furthermore, your vehicle’s interior won’t be as cold when driving in the morning.
Modular wraps protect your car.
As a bonus, modular vehicle wraps offer an extra layer of protection that other types of wraps can’t. They also look fantastic and make your business stand out. With modular vinyl vehicle wraps, you can protect your car from several disasters. The vinyl acts as a barrier against light scuffs, scratches, hailstones, harsh chemicals and aggressive car washes. You might have seen our LGV fleet modular wraps, for example.
Get in touch
If you are interested in our vehicle wraps, contact us on 01482 686010 or fill in our contact form to find out more about what we offer.