There’s nothing worse than your car not starting on a cold, icy morning, but with a bit of planning, you can make sure your vehicle is ready for the colder months. Richard Gladman, Chief Examiner at IAM RoadSmart, has a handy guide to help you prepare for the colder weather.
The battery on your car can go flat at any time, whether you’re popping out for a Halloween celebration or to catch the fireworks in November. Make sure you keep a set of jump leads in your car so you can start your engine with help from another driver’s vehicle if you need to.
Check antifreeze and screen wash
Antifreeze stops the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing and overheating, so make sure yours is topped up. Also check your screen wash levels, as something might seem minor, but something as simple as a bird doing its business on your windscreen can completely reduce visibility.
Get kitted out
Always carry a winter driving kit. This should include an ice-scraper, torch, blanket, de-icer and a first aid kit, just in case. Packing water and snacks is also a good idea, should you find yourself waiting for a recovery truck.
Light it up
Less light means, of course, using your headlights more. Check that they are clean; a wipe down with a cloth should suffice, and make sure none are blown or cracked, as not only do they make you less visible, it’s also an MOT failure. Don’t forget to check your full beam and fog lights as well.
Keep your car clean
Salt will often make your car windscreen, headlights, number plates and rear parts very dirty. You should stop regularly at service stations to clean your windscreen and headlights when the roads have been gritted or keep a filled bottle of water in the car boot to give your lights, windows and mirrors a quick wash over.
Never ignore any warning lights that appear on your dashboard. If one appears, get it checked out as soon as possible. Being stuck on the side of the road is annoying at the best of times, but breaking down in freezing conditions is not only uncomfortable it can also be dangerous.
IAM RoadSmart Chief Examiner Richard Gladman said:
“Autumn and winter can bring difficult driving conditions with heavy rain, strong winds, frosty mornings and snow. Preparation is key to avoiding a dangerous situation whilst driving in bad weather. Don’t rely on the performance of your car systems to get you out of trouble – allow time, create a safe space, make sure you have good visibility, and carry the right equipment. If conditions are extreme remember the best advice is not to travel.”