The Great British winter is perfect for Sunday roasts and thick winter knits, but no one wants to be caught out on the road. As evenings are now darker and the weather is getting colder, roads can be hazardous, it is always reassuring to know that your vehicle is safe and reliable for the season.
It is always a good idea to get a Winter Check before you go into the colder months, even if you feel as though your car is running perfectly fine, as there can be problem areas that you may not be aware of.
Three important reasons to have a Winter Check:
- Battery inspection
Batteries are the most common cause of winter breakdowns with cold and damp weather being a deadly battery killer. If your battery is more than five years old it may struggle in this weather, and if it's showing signs of struggling to start your car, it's more than likely on its way out.
Asking a specialist to check your battery is easier than trying to figure out if its OK by yourself. A battery inspection is once of the points covered during a winter health check at Smiths Motor Group.
If your battery does need replacing you should do it as a matter of urgency to reduce the risk of any battery-related breakdowns. It's always handy to keep a set of jump leads in the boot of your car, just in case your battery needs a jolt to get started so that you can drive to the nearest garage.
- Checks that tyres & exterior lights are road legal
With longer nights it is important that all of your exterior lights are in working order and that all of your tyres have more than 1.6mm of tread (legal minimum).
Whether you’re driving in mist and fog, heavy rain or snow, day or night, it’s important to make sure you can see and be seen on the road. A winter health check will test to make sure that your headlights, brake lights, tail lights, indicators and reverse lights are all in working order and if they're not, then replacement bulbs can be fitted. Checking and cleaning them regularly yourself will help to keep you visible on the road all year round. It is advisable to carry spare bulbs in case of a failure while you are on the road.
A technician will always ensure that your tyres are road legal, but they could advise whether you should change your tyres if you bring your car in to have a winter health check. They will also examine your tyre pressure to make sure they are offering optimum performance levels. Winter tyres are not the cheapest, but if you don't want to take the plunge of investing in them, your regular tyres should ideally have 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Although the legal limit is 1.6mm, having more can dramatically improve your steering and braking.
- Antifreeze & screen wash
Antifreeze is a fluid that stops the water in your engine's cooling system from freezing. You should regularly check your coolant level when you check the oil level of your car. If necessary, top up your coolant with a mixture of water and the correct type of antifreeze to ensure cold temperature protection for your engine.
Similar to antifreeze, you should ensure that your car is always topped up with screen wash, especially in winter when you are more likely to be using your windscreen wipers. Without screen wash to clean the windscreen, there is a high risk of your wipers smearing grime across the windscreen reducing visibility of the road and other drivers.