As summer ends and the winter weather approaches, here are 10 tips for winter car checks you can do.
1. When should I get my car serviced?
It’s a good idea to book in a car service before the wet weather, snow is on the roads or you break down on a cold dark road. If you call Martin Adams today, your car is likely to be services within two weeks. Then you will have the peace of mind to know your car has had the oil, brake pads, brake discs, fluids, fan belts, lights etc checked and are all working.
2. Why does my battery fail to start the car in cold wintery (or even autumnal) weather?
Batteries produce less power in cold weather and you drain it quicker with your windscreen wipers on in the rain and heaters blasting nice warm air at you. Many modern cars also have heated seats and mirrors too. This all puts a drain on your battery when you drive short distances. If it’s a few years old you may want to get your battery checked so it starts your car every day.
3. Top up your windscreen wash fluid with a winter mix
Windscreens freeze in cold weather and you can defrost it quicker in the mornings by putting in a windscreen fluid for winter temperatures. This stops the washer fluid from freezing so you squirt your windscreen clear. Martin’s team will top up fluids as part of your service.
If you’ve had a service from Martin Adams Vehicle Servicing recently, you can buy something like this Bluecol one at around £14 on Amazon Prime. It includes winter screenwash, winter de-icer and winter rain repellent.
4. Top up your engine coolant with one containing antifreeze
Similar to 3, your engine coolant you use in the summer can freeze in winter if you topped it up with water. If it freezes it can’t keep your engine from overheating. Top it up with a coolant that has antifreeze in it. Martin tops up your engine coolant during a service too.
If you’ve had your service recently, or need to top up, this one from Comma is in a concentrated form and protects your engine down to -36 degrees celcius and is suitable for all petrol and diesel engines. It’s £6 to £7 on Amazon.
5. Check your tyres aren’t worn too badly and tyre tread is deep enough
Your tyres are the part of your car that makes the difference between gripping and slipping on the road. If you’ve ever skidded on the road you know how scary it can feel. It’s easy to forget to check your tyres but it only takes a few minutes to do and ideally you want 3mm depth of tread.
In addition, you can even buy chains to put on your tyres when the roads are covered in snow or switch to winter tyres, which have more grip.
6. Check your bulbs in your headlights and fog lights are working
When it’s dark and the weather is bad, whether it is winter or not, you want your lights to work when you need them. It’s a good idea to run through switching on all your lights in sequence with someone stood outside the car to check they come on fully. This includes checking your indicator lights, your dipped headlights, main beam headlights and full beam, brake lights and fog lights.
These are checked and replaced as needed as part of a service and Martin Adams.
7. Check your windscreen wipers and check the windscreen for cracks
Windscreen wiper blades eventually wear out with the swooshing back and forth, leaves and twigs getting stuck betwen the blade and windscreen. Check the blades are nice and clean so they can move easily and if there are splits, ask Martin Adams to change them for you when you book in your sevice.
When roads are resurfaced and occassionally when motorbikes kick up road gravel, your windscreen can get chipped or cracked. Windscreen chips and cracks can spread, making it dangerous to drive in any weather. Most insurance companies can repair chips and cracks in your windscreen for free and without affecting your excess.
8. Check the weather forecast and road traffic
Before you head off anywhere in bad conditions, whether it is heavy rain, gale force winds or snow falling, please check the weather forecast. If the weather is bad along the route you would normally drive, check google maps, AA route planner or your preferred sat nav for traffic updates. Chances are the motorway routes have accidents on them and then you could get stuck in standstill traffic for hours. Either don’t travel if you avoid it, or drive a different route that avoids the accident areas.
9. Check you have these winter items in your car boot
It’s always a good idea to carry more windscreen wash as you get through a lot of it when the road salt keeps making your windscreen dirty. If you’ve had your winter car service done by Martin, you’ll already have had your windscreen wash and coolant topped up. Also put these items in your boot: a demister, an ice scraper, high vis jacket for everyone in the car, a torch, blanket, water, shovel (for the snow) and even a few snacks. Then if you get stuck somehwere in your car, you can make the wait for a breakdown service more pleasant.
10. Car breakdown cover
We hope this helps you feel ready and safe from any bad weather coming your way!