The Bedfordshire Car & Caravan Centre

Winter Car Care Checks
21 January 2020

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WINTER CAR CHECKS

Have you undertaken your winter car check?

Whilst you should check your car regularly throughout any season, there are priority area you should inspect during the winter to ensure you are ready to tackle hazardous weather conditions. Here are some checks to help you prepare: 

Top up on antifreeze

Antifreeze helps prevent the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing, costing only a few pounds. Choosing not to use antifreeze can lead to a frozen engine, offering far greater repercussions, such as a damaged engine with a heavy repair cost.

*Tip: If you hear a continuous squealing noise when you start your engine, the chances are that your water pipe is frozen. You should stop your engine immediately and let it thaw out to prevent any further damage. 

Check your Screen Wash

Invest in a screen wash that will protect you against icy temperatures such as -35 degrees celsius. This will prevent the water from freezing, and without it you run the risk of your windscreen wipers not working in extreme weather conditions. We are more likely to encounter muddy roads and puddles in the winter, which will often mean you use your screen wash more frequently.

*Tip: If you’re buying screen wash suitable for winter, look out for deals. Having a spare bottle stored in the boot can give you a quick top up so you never run out.

Keep your battery charged

Cars generally have a battery life of 5 years, but with extra demands in the winter, batteries are made to work much harder. You can get your battery tested at your local car service centre and we reccomend BS Motors in Sandy ensuring it is in optimal condition and fully charged. As a contingency plan, it’s always best to carry some jump cables with you.

*Tip: Ensure you turn your lights, heating and wipers off when not required. This will help conserve battery life. Watch out for interior lights or leaving side lights on too: if a light is left on by accident you could drain the battery without even knowing.

Check Your Windscreen Wipers

Ensure your windscreen wipers are cleaning your screen properly. They shouldn’t leave behind any residue. If they are, squeaking, juddering or damaged in anyway, they should be replaced immediately. 

Test your Brakes and Brake Lights

Wintery weather conditions result in increased stopping distances. Check both your brakes and brake lights are functioning correctly. As winter nights draw in earlier your brake lights protect you and other drivers.

Oil

Check your car has sufficient oil. Oil levels are important for the engine to function efficiently, low oil can consequently lead to damaging your engine, resulting in high repair costs.  

Fuel

Make sure you have a sufficient amount of petrol or diesel in your tank. You will naturally use more petrol in the winter months with journeys taking longer and the use of more heating.  

Check Your Tyres

Deemed as a high priority check, you should make sure your tyres meet the required tread depth. The minimum depth for UK and European cars is 1.6mm, however 3mm is recommended for the winter and one we work to all year round with our RAC car preparation. Worn tyres result in less grip, especially when driving in wet and wintery conditions such as snow and ice. If your daily commute requires you to drive down side roads that might be prone to snow, you may want to consider changing to winter tyres or all-season tyres with a deeper tread.