Motor maintenance is essential at this time of year, to keep your engine healthy and your car safe. According to research from top recovery firms, you’re twice as likely to suffer a breakdown during the winter months, so preparing your car for winter is of upmost importance and below are some winter car maintenance tips.

Check your car battery

If your battery is more than five-years-old, consider getting it replaced. That’s the average life expectancy of a battery, according to the AA. Your local garage will be able to check its health.  Also check the battery terminals are clean and tight. If there is any corrosion, you can try to clean it off, although if there is any obvious damage to the outside of the battery, leave it to a professional to check it.

Clean your windows

Of course, it’s always important you can see out of your windscreen and windows, but a combination of dirt and low sun can make things extra tricky in winter. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car, make sure your windows are clean inside and out, and check for any cracks in the glass, which could become worse in winter.

Maintain proper tyre pressure

Tyre pressure can be an issue during the winter due to the cold temperatures and tyres tend to deflate once the temperature drops below 32 degrees. On a weekly basis, you should check your tyre pressure as low tyre pressure decreases your gas mileage and also can wear the tyres out faster. As improper tyre pressure reduces control of the car in all conditions, proper inflation is especially important in preparing your car for winter.

Check your cover

Comprehensive breakdown cover is crucial at this time of year and will give you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t end up stranded in the cold. So check your policy and remember to take a contact phone number with you on all journeys.

Screen wash

Make sure you top up your screenwash with a product that is effective down to at least -15 degrees Celsius. This additive helps to keep the windscreen free of ice and dirt, particularly the winter road grime caused by road salting and gritting which can cause visibility issues. There is also the risk of a frozen windscreen which is another reason to ensure you use a proper anti-freeze screen wash.

Adjust your driving in dangerous conditions

A well-maintained vehicle is not your only defence against colder weather. Adjust your driving habits when you’re in snowy or icy weather. Because of decreased traction, drive slower than usual. If you need to brake, apply brakes slowly if driving over snow or ice. Aggressive braking can lock up your brakes and cause skidding.

The same method applies to accelerating and steering – increase your speed and turn gently to avoid spinning your wheels. Leave plenty of room between you and the cars around you and pay attention to your surroundings.

While cold weather brings many threats to your car and driving, proper preparation can protect you. Following these guidelines will help you avoid potential dangers while on the road this winter.

Always be prepared

Winter can be unpredictable; so don’t wait for the first snow to fall to put the ice scraper and snow shovel in the car. Keep an emergency winter kit in the boot in case of an accident or other bad weather situation. Recommended emergency items include a small first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, gloves, shovel, and road flares.

Always make sure you have sufficient fuel in your car

While it’s never good for your fuel pump to run it too low in any season, driving with low fuel especially in the winter is not safe. Should you end up stranded somewhere in the winter, having sufficient fuel would keep you warm longer as you wait for help.

For further advice and assistance on winter car maintenance please contact us here.