It's important to be mobile in the winter so you can visit friends and family and buy the things you need to stay warm and well. Keeping your vehicle on the road is all about careful planning and good decision-making, so make sure you have a winter service and know your engine.
One of the first things you need to take care of before the winter weather sets in is a winter service. Most cars require a service every ten thousand miles or after a set number of months or years, but it's still a sensible idea to have an extra service at the start of the winter season.
A winter car service will change the oil and filters to ensure your engine is clean and working well; the mechanic will also top up the fluid levels and put some antifreeze into the engine to prevent it from freezing in adverse conditions. Service may or may not offer a tyre change.
Change of tyres
After your winter service, you need to change the tyres to ones with winter tread. Using summer tyres in the winter is risky because it reduces the traction on the road and increases the chances of you skidding on black ice. Winter tyres are thicker and weightier with more grip.
Some garages will change your tyres as part of your winter service, but you might have to visit another tyre centre. Winter tyres can be expensive to buy upfront, but then you have them for a number of years. Learning how to change your tyres for convenience next year can be useful.
If you are driving in the winter, make sure you don't leave home without an emergency kit. An emergency kit should include an ice scraper and de-icer, it normally has some jump leads, gloves, an emergency sign, and sometimes salt and a shovel to help you to get unstuck.
In icy winter weather, it's possible to get stuck anywhere. You might visit the local supermarket and park in a parking spot that is sloped with some black ice covering it; this situation can be a nightmare to get out of if you don't have some salt to put down behind the relevant tyres.
Charge the battery
Before the cold winter weather sets, it's a good idea to test and replace your battery if necessary. Cold weather can reduce the efficiency of the car battery, which makes it the vehicle harder to start in the morning. Alternatively, you can disconnect or charge the battery.
If you test the battery prior to winter and it has a reduced capacity, try to protect it throughout the winter if you don't want to replace it. The easiest way to do this is to disconnect it and keep it on a trickle charge for long periods when not using the car. A jump-start unit is also good to have.
A winter service should take care of the fluid levels for you, but it's still a good idea to monitor the fluid levels throughout the season and top them up when necessary. It's also important to have enough antifreeze in the engine to prevent the liquids from freezing and causing damage.
So there you have it, all of the essential ways for you to ensure you can keep your car on the road this winter. If you have any other tips, please mention them in the comments.
How do you take care of your car over the winter months?
Love Beth xx