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TOP 10 Winter Car Checks: How To Prepare Your Car For Cold and Snowy Weather

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

As we Brits are hit by cold weather and with lockdown hell limiting travel, our cars are likely to be sat unused outside our homes more than usual this winter.

So, with temperatures continuing to drop, we spoke to UK online car retailer, Cazoo, to find out the best way to keep your car healthy this winter. Here are the top tips:

1. Check Your Battery

A drop-in temperature and the combination of using your car’s heaters and lights more frequently can put your battery under increased strain. It’s worth getting the condition of your battery checked and having this replaced if necessary. It’s also recommended you invest in a portable jump-start pack as a precaution – this will reduce the risk of you being stranded if you do have a drained battery. 

Due to lockdown restrictions and poor weather, it’s likely cars are going to be left unused for long periods of time this winter. A drive of at least 30 minutes should boost the charge of your battery. However, if this isn’t possible due to current restrictions, purchasing a trickle-charger will help you maintain the condition of your car’s battery.

2. Get Your Car Serviced 

Cold weather can be tough on cars, but a lot of potential problems can be avoided with regular maintenance and servicing. If you know your motor is due a service during the winter months, it’s recommended to get this booked in and done before the cold weather comes. 

It’s also a good idea to ensure your car’s MOT is up to date. The checks carried out during an MOT are designed to make sure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy, which is even more important once cold weather sets in.

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3. Top Up Your Fluids

Keeping your engine coolant, oil and washer fluid levels topped up is a basic car maintenance task that should be undertaken all year round. However, keeping an eye on your engine coolant during the winter months should be a priority. Your engine needs coolant for the radiator system, and oil for the engine in order to run properly. If these levels are low, your car should display a warning light to let you know. 

But you shouldn’t allow your motor to get to this point, because damage can be done before the fluid levels drop to the point where a warning light will come on. Instead, get into the habit of regularly checking your car’s oil and coolant levels without waiting to see that warning light.

4. Check Your Brakes 

It’s always important when driving to be able to stop efficiently, but never more so than during winter. While your car isn’t being driven as frequently, it’s a good idea to make sure your brakes are in good working condition.

This can be done with a visual inspection. If you look behind your wheels you should be able to see the brake discs. If you can see any scoring or signs of corrosion, then you might need to have your brake discs or pads replaced. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to get a second opinion from a professional mechanic. 

5. Check Your Tyre Tread 

Worn tyres can have a huge impact on the handling, braking and overall safety of your vehicle. Make the most of your car not being driven much this winter to check your tyre tread. A minimum tread depth of 2.5mm across at least 80% of the tyre’s width is a rule of thumb to stick to. It’s well above the legal minimum limit of 1.6mm, but more tread will give your tyres more grip on icy or wet roads. 

The pressure of your tyres is just as important as tyre tread. Set aside time regularly to check they have the correct pressure. If you’re unsure, your handbook will tell you what pressure your tyres need to be adjusted to. 

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Find more ways to keep your car healthy this winter here.

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