With temperatures dipping below zero in parts of Britain, it's time to think about how to protect yourself, and your car, for winter driving.
WINTER CAR MAINTENANCE
Winter driving puts an increased strain on both you and your car, so it's important to make sure that everything is in good order.
A few simple checks can greatly reduce the chance of a breakdown, as well as potentially making your car easier and less stressful to drive in ice and snow.
Fixing something that's relatively inexpensive now, after all, might help you avoid a much more costly failure in the colder conditions – or prevent you from having to pay a big recovery fee after becoming stranded somewhere.
To ensure you don’t fall foul of the conditions, here's our list of recommended winter car maintenance tips.
The bare essentials
As a minimum, make sure you have done all your regular checks before winter sets in. Check your car's oil level, coolant level, tyre pressures and lights. If your car hasn't been serviced for some time, it might be worth getting it done before winter sets in. It'll help ensure that everything's in good order before the temperature falls.
Now's also the time to attend to any mechanical or electrical faults because they could bring your car grinding to a halt in the worst possible weather. Test all your car's systems as well because you don't want to find out later that things like your heated rear windscreen have failed.
Check your antifreeze
If your car's cooling system doesn't have the correct amount of antifreeze in it, you could experience a major failure when the thermometer starts falling below zero.
Get an antifreeze tester from your local motor factors and check your handbook to see what the mixture should be, and what kind of antifreeze you should be using. Any local dealer or garage will be able to test it for you, if need be.
Inspect the rest of the cooling system as well to ensure that the radiator, coolant hoses and water pump are free from leaks or visible damage.
Take care of your car's battery
The cold can take its toll on your car's battery, even more so if you're not driving regularly. If you find your car slow to start as the temperature falls, your battery is most likely on its way out. So if you've any doubts about the condition of the battery, get it tested by a local dealer or garage.
If your car's battery goes flat if you leave it for several days because of a fault or a drain caused by an alarm system, consider investing in a trickle charger to keep it topped up – or get an automotive electrician to resolve any issues.