Driving can often be more challenging in the winter months due to the wet weather and icy temperatures that impact visibility and make the road slippery.
Just as you protect yourself and your family against the elements with vitamins, warm jackets and cosy nights in – it’s also important to make sure that your car is well taken care of during the chilliest months of the year.
We have put together some pointers that may help steer you in the right direction.
Boost your battery life
Batteries are often under more pressure during the winter season, because starting a cold engine tends to require more amps. During the coldest months, it’s important to check whether your battery is in good working condition. Keep your battery clean and ensure there is no grease, dirt or oxidation build-up. Check the water is topped up, making sure to mop up any spillage.
If you don’t use your car regularly or drive only short distances, it’s advisable to take your car for a longer drive on a regular basis, to make sure that your battery remains fully charged. Driving for an hour once a week should be enough. Also, make sure all devices (such as your radio and lights) are switched off before you start your car, so as not to put too much pressure on your battery.
Book a service
A healthy battery depends on a healthy engine. It’s wise to make sure your car is serviced and maintained in line with the manufacturer’s specifications, to sustain its mechanical condition, preserve your battery life and keep your family safe. If you missed a scheduled service during lockdown, you can book an appointment now.
Check your tyres
While it is always important to be confident that your tyres are in good condition, it is absolutely critical to check them during the winter months. Driving on worn tyres can be incredibly dangerous in wet, misty conditions when it’s more difficult to see and the roads are slippery.
Most tyres have a tread depth indicator. If any tyre is worn down to the indicator point, you need to replace that tyre immediately. Make sure to also examine the surface of your tyres for damage and air bubbles; and keep them inflated to the recommended pressure. This ensures optimal road holding and prolongs your tyre life. If a tyre is inflated too little or too much, this can quickly cause damage.
Give your lights some love
During winter, it’s not uncommon to spend more time commuting in poor natural light. Whether you’re doing the school run or driving to work before sunrise, or coming home in the dark, you will probably rely more on your headlights during winter. It’s therefore important to be sure that all your lights are in good working order. And regularly clean away any dirt and grime that may get onto your headlight covers while you’re driving.
Watch your wipers
Now is a good time to check the condition of your windscreen wiper blades. Use your washers to spray some water onto your windscreen and test whether your wipers are doing a good job of cleaning the water away. If they are squeaking, slipping or leaving streaks of moisture behind, it’s time to replace them. You want your wipers to work perfectly in wet and stormy weather.
If you tend to park your car out in the open overnight, you may wake up to a layer of frost on the windscreen. Take care not to use warm water to clean away the ice, as this could cause your windscreen to crack. Rather use a scraper, old credit card or spatula.
Monitor your brakes
While cold weather doesn’t have any specific impact on your brakes, it is often a good idea to thoroughly inspect your brakes to make sure that they are in tip-top condition. This way, you can rest assured that your brakes will perform at their best when driving in winter conditions. When you do have to drive in the rain or on icy roads, avoid heavy braking. Remember to take it slow and maintain a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Is anything concerning you?
If you are unsure about anything or notice any other issues, it’s best to book your vehicle in for a service with a technician you trust. You don’t want to be a danger to yourself or anyone else on the road this winter. Get in touch if you need our advice.
Otherwise, drive safely and keep warm!