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Keeping your vehicle well maintained is important all year round, but doubly so in winter. For example, worn tyres won’t hold the road in wet conditions as well as those with a good, deep tread.
Make sure all exterior lights are working correctly and that windscreen wiper blades are in good condition. Check the oil, coolant and washer fluid levels. And, don’t leave home on that long trip over lonely country roads without enough fuel for the journey.
The following checks will help ensure your vehicle is ready for winter:
Note: Before carrying out these checks, make sure your vehicle is cold and parked on a flat, level surface.
Car Battery – the RAC attends more call-outs for batteries than any other problem. During February 2012 we went to more than 50,000 battery-related call-outs. Remember, if your car has not been used for a period of time, the battery may need charging before you come to use it. The RAC Shop stocks a range of battery chargers and battery testing devices.
Coolant – ensure that coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. It is also important that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. If you’re uncertain, have a look at your handbook or get a local garage to check the strength. Anti-freeze is cheap but damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive to put right.
Tyres – check tyre condition to see if there is adequate tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check the pressure. If you live in an area particulary at risk of snow consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you greater traction and control.
Screenwash – make sure you have enough screenwash and that the concentration is suitable for cold conditions. Not all screenwash is the same so look for the temperature it protects down to. You should be looking for protection down to down to -10 degrees C and if you live in areas subject to the greatest extremes of weather, down to -20 degrees C. If you don’t use a good quality screenwash there is a danger your washer pump could freeze which might lead to the fuse blowing and your wipers not working because they are often on the same fuse.
Wiper blades – check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up.