More breakdowns occur in winter than any other time of year, according to the AA. So read our tips to prepare your car for winter driving and limit your chance of breaking down. Freezing temperatures and icy conditions can play havoc with cars. Also, driving conditions are likely to be challenging so its best be even more aware of other drivers.
How to prepare your car for winter driving
Breaking down during the cold winter months can make waiting outside of your car even more uncomfortable. So prepare your car for winter driving and stay safe this winter.
Reduce the chances of breaking down with our top tips
Ensure your battery is in top condition
Every service at Hampton Motors includes a battery check. It’s simple to do with a battery tester, and our model prints the test results for every customer.
The results don’t just show if your battery is beginning to fail but also if you make a lot of short journeys – which can cause batteries to fail prematurely. You can test your battery at home with a DIY Battery Tester, or drop by and we will test your battery for free.
Top up engine coolant with the correct anti-freeze
If your car uses coolant throughout the summer months, it can be tempting to add water. However, this can affect the coolant to water ratio, which needs to be ~50%. Too much water can lead to severe engine damage if it can’t protect your engine below freezing. We use an electronic tester to ensure that your coolant ratio is suitable for driving throughout the summer and winter months.
Check your tires are ready for winter
Many Europeans are used to changing to winter specification types during the colder months, but this isn’t the standard in Britain. Most car tyres sold in the UK are suitable for use throughout the year.
However, if you plan on doing a lot of country driving then it might be worth considering getting winter tyres fitted for extra grip. Otherwise, ensure you tyres all have at least 3mm tread and are inflated to the correct pressure.
Check your lights are working correctly
Darker nights, rain and snow can all lead to challenging driving conditions and a faulty headlight can make this even worst. You’ll need a partner or a reflective window to be able to check your sidelights, headlights, taillights and brake lights. These are also checked during a service or MOT test.
Windscreen Wipers and Screenwash
Screen wash uses a similar chemical to coolant to stop it from freezing, so make your car is topped up. Also, check your wipers are working properly to maintain visibility and safety. We can check these for you in a matter of minutes at Hampton Motors.
Check Your Insurance for Breakdown Cover
When you call a breakdown company during the winter its likely to cause a major inconvenience or additional cost. It’s always worth checking with your insurance company that you have adequate cover before setting off on longer journeys.
Scraper and De-icer Kit
A strong scraper, de-icer and a pair of waterproof gloves are essential for the colder months. You’ll become good friends with this kit during the winter season. Always fully clear the windows and lift up the windscreen wipers as they sometimes stick to the frozen glass.
Pack a winter essentials kit
These winter essentials will keep you safe and warm, just in case you do breakdown. Warm jackets, a hat and a blanket can make a huge difference in your mood when stranded on the side of the road. It’s also worth including energy snacks, water and a phone charger or backup battery in your glove box.
Driving safely during the winter months
- Your car is likely to use more fuel over the winter months, so don’t risk running out of fuel by maintaining at least 1/3 tank
- Check the weather reports before you leave home and consider other travel options if conditions are poor.
- Local councils grit main roads and motorways, so avoid smaller roads if possible.
- Make sure you take regular tea breaks to stay focused when you’re driving.
- Drive in a slow and controlled manner, especially when there are reports of ice.
Prepare your car for winter driving this Christmas
Learning how to prepare your car for winter driving this Christmas will greatly reduce the change of you breaking down. Also keeping your tyres inflated and your car in good mechanical order with minimise any chance of breaking down this winter.
If you are unsure about maintaining your car, we can check all of the above in a routine car service in Hampton.
If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.