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Prepare your car for winter

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Monday, 16 November 2015 GMT

Author: Staveley Head

In this blog we’re not covering the extremes of winter like using snow chains. Let’s be realistic! We’re simply preparing you for a winter in the UK, battling ice, fog and cold mornings. There is nearly double the amount of breakdowns during winter than any other time of year. So what can you do to ensure you’re not left at the road side?

Winter cars in snow

© Copyright David Hawgood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Checking your tyres should be one of the first things you do. If your tyres are unsafe they won’t grip to the road in wet and icy conditions. So what are your options? You could go to great expense and purchase winter tyres but there is no need to do this. If you live in a rural area it may make sense to invest. Winter tyres are expensive so the cost cannot always be justified; it really depends on where you live. So save your money and take some extra time this winter to check your tyre tread and pressure.

The recommended tread depth is 3mm. For tyre pressure information please check your handbook.

Car checks

These quick car checks will not take long so make sure your safe not sorry. Firstly your lights; don’t wait until you’re driving on a foggy road to realise your fog lights are out. Check all exterior lighting prior to the winter months, replacing damaged or broken bulbs.

Waiting in a freezing cold car for your windows to defrost is not a nice way to spend the morning. Be prepared with Deicer, a scraper and decent windscreen wipers. And remember NEVER use boiling water!!

Regular checks of oil and water are just as important in winter as in summer. The only difference is remembering to add the anti freeze. If you’re uncertain of the amount of anti freeze to add just check your handbook.

Helpful extras

A tow rope and jump leads may just save you time and money so make sure you have these important items in your car. This way you shouldn’t be left in the cold for too long.

Winter kit

Just in case you do breakdown here is a checklist of handy items that should be kept in your car;

  • Blanket – so you can wrap up warm
  • Shovel – you can get a fold away shovel which is extremely handy
  • Torch – just in case it is dark
  • Salt
  • Spare coats, hats and gloves
  • High visibility vest
  • Phone charger – ensure emergency numbers are saved
  • Scraper
  • Deicer

Before you take to the icy roads don’t forget that all important car insurance.

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