After a ridiculously mild autumn, right through to November with the mercury touching 22.4 degrees Celsius, winter hardly announced itself with plunging temperatures in December – although the floods were awful. It was not until January that we saw the really cold weather turn up – with temperatures dropping below zero for a lot of the country and with snow accompanying them.
Even after a brief rebound to figures in the high singles to maybe 10 degrees, it seems that winter is finally with us – so what do you need to do to make sure your car stays efficient, but above all keeps working.
There are a few checkpoints you can do, to make sure your car does not let you down when you need it least (i.e. when it is snowing and walking for help is not really a great option).
Check your battery – Battery failures increase in winter quite significantly, as outlined in our earlier Battery post. Caused mainly due to the lower temperatures leading to the batteries outputs being lowered, coupled with them being asked to do more in terms of powering your lights and more importantly your heaters. Get your battery checked if it is over 3 years older if you do not regularly do a high amount of miles (motorway miles) to keep it topped up.
Check your tyres – The changing seasonal conditions will have a huge effect on your tyres, reducing their efficiency considerably. What is the answer? Well winter tyres are effectively tyres that can work optimally at lower tyre pressures – meaning more of the tyre is in contact with the road surface – simply letting some air out of your standard tyres is not the same thing, it will not work and will reduce the lifetime of your tyres quite a lot potentially. Even if you can not splash out on a set of winter tyres, make sure you get your tyres checked so that they are within legal limits and are equipped enough to keep you on the roads.
Coolant/Anti-Freeze level check – Anti-freeze is not needed as much in colder conditions – right? Wrong. Anti-freeze is vital in winter to avoid the engine overheating when it is already stressed with the colder temperatures. An overheated engine could leave you looking at a very large repair bill – so make sure you avoid this by investing a few pounds to keep stocked with antifreeze.
Lights – Check all of your lights work – including the full beam, hazards and fog lights. Visibility will be reduced due to the reduction in daylight hours, but also by adverse weather conditions. Make sure all of your lights are working to see and avoid incidents and also to alert others, should you come into difficulty.
Screenwash & Windscreen Wipers – One of the intrinsic systems in helping to keep your visibility levels up – a clear windscreen. If you top up your screenwash throughout the year with a mostly water solution – i.e. 50/50 in winter and almost all water in summer then you should not be surprised when the windscreen washer solution freezes in the pipes. During times of cold snaps, or indeed longer periods, the screenwash solution should not be diluted, it should be 100% the sctual screenwash fluid. This will help to avoid the lines freezing, and so you will be able to use it to help clear your window.
Having a well supplied and liquid screenwash reservoir is only part of the battle though – your windscreen wipers must be up to the job. Wipers will find it hard to effectively clear the windscreen when there is ice present on it. In some unfortunate cases, the wiper blades will be come damaged thus rendering them even less use. However, allowing the in-car blowers to warm up the ice on the
windscreen will allow it to be cleared away more easily. Your wiper blades are a very important piece of kit, so make sure you look after them appropriately.
If you do experience any difficulties on the road during winter (or at any time of the year) then do not by shy, give A1 Clutches a call and we will get you back on to the road as soon as possible.