Khodrocar - When winter looms large, it’s vital that your car is in proper working order so that it's capable of dealing with the bad weather and, more importantly, it won't break down. According to research by recovery firms, you're twice as likely to break down in winter months. While that sounds like a good statistic to get people to sign up with these services, there's some things that you can do to ensure it doesn't happen in the first place.
The best way is to take some time out to check your car over and make sure everything is in order. But where do you start? Simple: take our checklist below and give every part of your car the attention it needs to survive until the spring.
There are quick winter checks that you can do in a matter of a few minutes, such as washer fluid levels and lighting checks, but they could mean the difference between smooth winter running and a troublesome cold spell. There are bigger jobs that you can do, too, such as fitting winter tyres, but we have all these jobs covered. Below you’ll find a list of checks and recommended purchases to help you and your car enjoy a trouble-free winter on the road.
Winter car maintenance checklist
It's a given that you should keep your car maintained throughout the year, but it's doubly vital in the cold and inclement winter months. The reality is that winter checks really aren’t much different from normal car maintenance procedures, although a few items should be given some extra attention:
Check your car battery
Cold and damp weather can put a strain on your car's 12-volt battery. Cold weather makes it harder for an engine to turn over, but unfortunately, as an EV driver will tell you, cold weather also has a negative impact on the power a battery can deliver. If you haven't changed your car battery recently, then it could be tired, and the cold weather means it might not play ball. Add in the additional power drain of heaters and other electrical devices, and it can become a critical component. If the battery struggles to provide enough power to start your car, the chances are it's on its way out.
You can get a home battery tester, but it’s easier to see a specialist. Assuming you can start the car, you can drive to your local dealer or car spares shop to buy a new one. Most car battery stockists will even fit it for you.
Car battery prices vary, and can cost from around £60 fitted, although models fitted with stop-start systems need a heavier duty battery that can cost more than £100, depending on the size, type and the electrical current produced. There are dozens of combinations on offer, so make sure you get the correct one for your car.
If you can’t start your car, but have access to a 12-volt power supply in another car, then you can use a set of jump leads. If you're skilled enough and it's accessible, you could remove the battery and charge it indoors. This can be complex, not least because car batteries are heavy. You should always refer to the owner’s manual.
Antifreeze, as its name suggests, stops the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing. To test the effectiveness of your antifreeze, an antifreeze tester is available for about £5. To use it, unscrew the coolant reservoir cap under the bonnet (ensuring the engine is cold first), lower the tube into the coolant and squeeze the rubber bulb on the end to suck some antifreeze inside the tester.
You can then read the freezing point of the antifreeze using the scale inside the tester. Replace the antifreeze in the car’s system and replace the cap.
Check screen wash
Winter weather is frequently wet, and this draws all the dirt and road salt from the road surface, so you’ll spend lots of time using your windscreen wipers. Assuming your wipers are in good shape, there’s still a high risk of them smearing grime across the windscreen if your screen wash bottle is empty.