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Motor Health Check in the Winter
There is no mistaking when winter is on the way. Icy gales, snow and frosty mornings are just a few of the scenery that will greet you come the wintry months. While the winter months can be beautiful, they can make roads slippery and considerably hazardous too. The colder months tend to come with some very trying driving conditions. In some cases, it can even result in impassable road conditions.
For those winter journeys that you will eventually have to make, making sure that you keep your vehicle in tiptop condition is essential. With this, you are confident that you will get to your respective destination all safe and sound.
Keeping a roadworthy vehicle not only in the winter but for all seasons is essential. However, it can be extremely challenging in the freezing weather. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do which will save you from making a trip to the garage and will help you save a lot of money too.
Below is our guide to maintaining a sound and roadworthy vehicle during wintertime.
Check your tyres
Many of the roads running the country are plagued with potholes. This alone makes roads considerably risky to traverse. Add to that the fact the icy conditions and you have a recipe for disaster if you aren’t careful. This is why it matters that you keep your tyres in the best condition when driving in winter.
On top of that, driving around in winter with the wrong tyres can cause you a hefty sum. A whopping £10000 fine awaits you if you are discovered to be driving around with illegal tyres. On top of that , you will stand to lose 12 points off your license as well.
To avoid this, make regularly checking the tread depth of your tyre a habit. See to it that they are able to hold pressure too. This helps reduce the risks you will likely be exposed to when on the road in winter. If you notice that your tread depth is way lower than the minimum of 1.6mm, this is a clear sign that your tyres need some serious upgrading.
For winter driving, go for tyres with deeper treads as this will allow for better traction when on the road in colder conditions where there will likely be a ton of loose surfaces. Tyres with deeper tread are known to handle roads better and they are known for being able to stop 5 metres shorter compared to their counterparts that are meant for all-year driving. Thanks to their safer stopping design along with their more reliable grip, these are tyres that are definitely worth spending a few extra bucks on.
Check your lights
In the UK, winter comes with longer nights and shorter days. This makes it so much more important to ensure that all of your lights are working. Defective lights on your car is only going to be a recipe for disaster. More importantly, it is also illegal to be driving around with defective lights.
Among the things you need to check include the number plate bulb, reverse light, indicators and headlights.
You can ask a neighbor, a friend or a family member who can help check that all the lights are indeed working when checking them. This shouldn’t; be hard to do too. All you have to do is check the bulbs and replace them if they are no longer working, you can also check the vehicle’s manual as a guide.
Check the engine oil
The oil is a very important bloodstream for extending your engine’s life and making sure that you get it checked and changed as regularly as required is the key. If you want to check the oil levels in your engine, just use the dipstick. Make it a point to get the oils topped-up as necessary. Just make sure that the valve is not overfilled.
Your goal should be to get the coil and the filter changed at least yearly. With this, you can ensure that engine damage will be prevented.
Make sure that you are only using the right type of oil too. Consider what is recommended by your manufacturer. Just because your engine oil is cheaper doesn’t mean it will make for a better choice. Always refer to what the car manual says to know exactly which type of oil is ideal for your vehicle.
Check the coolant
Avoid unnecessary damage to your car engine by making sure that you have the right mix of water and anti-freeze. There’s no way your vehicle can weather out the winter months without it.
While your engine is still cold, top up the coolant with a 50/50 mix or whatever your manual guide has recommended. Ideally, your coolant protection level shouldn’t go below -25°C.
Check the washers and wipers
You also need to keep the washers, wipers and blades in the best working condition. When used, they shouldn’t leave any streaks or smear marks on your screen. After all, you need to be able to see the road clearly when you’re driving.
Your washing cavity will need some topping up too. Use a fluid that can at least reach -15°C and this will help leave your windscreen all clean and clear the whole time.
Check your brakes
When driving in tougher road conditions, having the ability to safely stop is essential. It is always challenging to do that when the roads are all wet and slippery. Your brakes can play such a crucial role in ensuring that you won’t have to deal with such hassles as delays and slides.
Among the things you need to pay close attention to include the shoes, brake pads, calipers, discs and the linkages of your handbrakes. If you believe that you are not qualified to do the task right, there are garages out there who will be more than happy to offer you a brake test free of charge so take advantage of that.
Check the battery
Failing to check the battery can lead to a whole host of issues, not least of which is your car suddenly coming to a halt while traversing an icy road. When the weather is colder, it can put a considerable toll on your battery. It has to keep working harder, after all, in order to keep up with the extra heater, lights and demister usage.
Cold weather can lead to less efficient batteries. This is why it is essential that you keep it well charged at all times, make sure that it is kept roadworthy for all of your journeys, be it a short or long-distance one.
It can be such a massive inconvenience to find that your car refuses to start when you are eager to get on with your day. The more so when it is a freezing cold morning and you have errands to run. Add to that the fact that sorting the problem could potentially cost you a lot of money, you’ll want to make sure that proper steps are taken to prevent this from happening. It wouldn’t hurt to invest in your own battery charger along with a jump lead set which will help you all set and ready for the winter season.
If you’re not confident that there’s enough life in your battery, you can always tap the local garage for help. Have them take a look to make sure that everything is in order. There may be instances when it is worth the costs to get a battery replaced before it can pave the way to damages to the rest of the vehicle.
Spending a bit of time before the cold winter hits will ensure that you will have a reliable and running motor for a considerable length of time. Always be proactive when it comes to keeping your vehicle better maintained. You’ll be surprised how much you can save in the process.