How do you stay on top of those winter road woes?
Grip becomes even more vital in winter, when roads become wet, icy, or otherwise deteriorate. Cracked tarmac, wet gritting salt, slush, mud and leaf matter all affect grip while also posing a risk to your car’s bodywork. The importance of getting your tyre wear & pressure checked is vital.
A good oil level is important to helping your car’s system run smoothly. Oil should be checked regularly anyway, so make sure you aren’t taking any risks on your car oil over the colder months. If the oil is sludgy or low, make sure to top it up.
Light it up
Driving in the late afternoon? You may go through the summer months not needing to use your lights at all, however dark winter days might require some lights. Get all your car’s lights –not just the headlights- checked before you leave home.
Warm it up
Leave the electrics on for a few seconds before starting the engine- this will allow more time for fuel pumps and diagnostics to run and warm up before you start. You’ll need to run the engine for a few minutes each morning too.
Keeping your windscreen clear is crucial to safe winter driving. Frost, especially overnight, can set in quickly, while road spray might reduce your vision- making wiper fluid, mixed with a little antifreeze, essential. What’s more, consider replacing old or defective wiper blades with new, cold-weather blades if you can.
Another fluid you’d hate to be stuck without in winter is radiator fluid, including some antifreeze. Keeping your engine coolant topped up shouldn’t be a big job- unless there’s a leak- but if it does leak you need to get on top of it, especially in bad weather.
Consider where you park
If you normally park outside, you may have to contend with frost affecting your car overnight. Park under cover if possible, or at least away from shaded areas. Remember, you should always park somewhere safe and legal, and in a well-lit area to deter thieves.
In snowy conditions, drivers often find themselves being pulled over because of obscured number plates. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by checking your registration is visible and easily read while de-icing in the morning, and ensure the relevant paperwork is in the car just in case.
Keep some kit in the boot
If all else fails, don’t get stranded in bad weather! Make sure you keep a small emergency pack- even a travel battery with enough charge for a phone call could be enough to get out of trouble. A few snacks, a map, some water, a good book, cold weather clothes & wellies, a blanket, a torch, a first aid kit and a shovel and you’ll be ready for anything.