Over the following winter months, the plummeting temperatures and poor weather conditions mean the number of car breakdowns are likely to increase. So, before that winter weather takes hold, here is a useful selection of car servicing tips to help maintain and keep your car on the road this winter.
Get your car serviced
Whilst it is important all year-round, the winter just makes your annual car servicing that little bit more urgent. A service is recommended every 12 months or every 12,000 miles (whichever is soonest). If you know that you are due to have your car serviced, plan ahead and call your local garage or service centre a couple of weeks in advance. A lot of problems that can see your car off the road or leading to a break down in winter can be easily prevented by keeping up with annual servicing and maintenance. Take advantage of any special winter offers available.
Check Your Brakes
Winter often brings slippery wet roads and icy conditions so your brakes will need to be in top condition. Check your breaks, if they squeal, make other noises, or generate unusual sensations, get them checked as soon as you can. It’s always best to test your breaks by setting off carefully and taking a short journey before you take a long one.
Check your Car’s tyres
The condition and quality of your tyres will make such a huge difference in how your car handles and performs on those winter roads. Check the tyre tread and side walls for any visible damage, it is essential that the tyres are in good condition.
It’s always useful to check your cars tyre pressure before you set off on long journeys
If you live in an area with heavy snow fall or particularly icy conditions, you might want to consider using winter tyres. If you are worried you can take your car to be looked over, have the tyres and wheel alignment checked. There are some garages that offer multiple services in one place so you just ring ahead to book your car in so you can also get the benefit of car servicing provided by DAT Tyres in London at the same time as having your tyres checked.
It goes without saying that before long journeys to plan ahead. Check the weather forecast, any travel news for the direction you are heading, plan your route and let somebody know where you are going and which route you are taking. If the weather is particularly bad, allow extra time for your journey.
Don’t ignore warning lights, if you’ve got a light on your dash that you don’t recognise, take a few minutes to read your car manual
Take a look at your cars wiper blades and replace them if they are damaged as poor visibility is one of the biggest dangers when driving in winter. They are relatively inexpensive to replace and can make a huge difference in your visibility when driving. If the wiper blades are in good condition, give them a quick once over with a damp cloth to remove any built up dirt and debris.
Check your screen wash levels and top up if needed as over the winter months the wet, muddy and salty roads can increase the amount of spray hitting your windscreen.
Check oil and fuel levels
Low oil levels can lead to mechanical breakdowns and engine failure. You should also check the level of fuel in your tank and plan your journey accordingly to accommodate fuel stops and distances in between.
Pack a survival kit
Whilst this post is mainly about keeping your car well maintained to get through the winter months, it’s always best to prepare in case the worst happens. Packing a small kit of items will be helpful if you do ever find yourself in that situation, After you’re done prepping your car for winter, take time to prepare in case the worst happens. Pack a bag with items that you can leave in the car, some useful items to include are
Ensure you have the items below in your car, just in case:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Jump Leads
- Electric Pump
- Warning triangle
- Warm clothing, spare socks, a high-visibility vest and a blanket.
- Spare pair of practical footwear like wellies
- Torch (don’t forget to check the batteries)
- Mobile phone charger
- Small selection of tools
- Bottled water & snacks
- A shovel if you live in an area with regular snowfall
Consider if your journey is necessary
One of the most important things to consider before you set off on a long journey in icy or snowy conditions, is if it is essential to travel. If it can wait then leave it, stay at home. It is better to be safe than sorry.