Car Maintenance: Are You Winter Ready?

Baby, it’s cold outside. While you’re tucked up inside the house with a hot chocolate in hand, your car is shivering on the driveway or in the garage. The winter months bring the coldest frost and even snow, but your car doesn’t get a chance to do much except take the onslaught of below zero temperatures that are on the way. The number of cars and pickup trucks that break down over the colder months rises exponentially due to the damage that the weather does on a vehicle. Expanding pipes in the cold that then crack cause engine failures. The tires that have worn too far down skid on the icy roads and are more susceptible to hydroplaning.

So, with you being a vigilant driver, it makes sense for you to start thinking about your winter weather maintenance right now, and not wait around. Below, you’ll find the best tips to ensure that your car is right for the spring months ahead.

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Get A Service

Your car being due a service right before winter can be a blessing rather than a curse. You need it to be in the best possible working order so that you aren’t left stranded in the freezing conditions outside. The cold can cause an awful lot of issues for a car, and up to half of those issues could have been prevented by a simple service with a mechanic. A lot of garages offer discounted winter car checks because of how important it is to be on the road in a car that is running correctly, so take them up on this offer and you’ll be driving a vehicle that isn’t going to clap out on you.

Secure The Exterior

In your pickup truck, there’s more of the vehicle exposed to the elements than not. In the summertime, the bedliner at the back would have been under the pressure of the UV rays and can become warped if not cared for properly. Now it’s the winter months, it’s time to think about replacing the bed liner or spraying it down with new material from this website. Protecting the exterior of your car is important, and when the snow starts falling, you need to make sure that you don’t have costly repairs to worry about in the spring.

Check Your Batteries

Your car battery should be one of the first priorities for you. It gets pummelled by cold temperature drops and the increased use of lights and heaters through the winter months, which means that replacing your car battery with a brand new one could be worth it to you, especially if you’re due a new battery now. If you are having issues with getting your car started, it may be worth getting it checked out and if your car won’t start on a frosty morning, giving it a jump start could be everything that you need.

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Antifreeze? It’s Car Medicine!

Your engine coolant is supposed to be 50% water and 50% antifreeze. As it becomes diluted, you’ll need to top it up with antifreeze instead of just water. Many people make the mistake of only using water to top up their engine, and then when the engine lines freeze and crack, they’re confused as to why. This then leads to an engine that overheats and a huge repair bill that you just weren’t prepared to get. Don’t worry; your local garage can help if you haven’t got the balance of water to antifreeze quite right.

Tread Carefully

The condition of your tires – as mentioned earlier – is going to be a big deal with your vehicle. Your tires are essential for both steering and braking, which means that they need to be in the best possible condition to run well. Your tires should have a minimum depth of 3mm during the colder months. While the legal minimum is 1.6mm, having a better depth is going to get you through all weather conditions and keep you stable on the road while you drive. There are specific tires that you can buy to swap out your summer tires to the winter ones, which will help you to remain on the road in slush and snowy conditions.

Light Up

Lights get a lot of use with darker mornings and darker afternoons. Not only then, your fog lights will also get a lot of use. Giving all the lights a look over before you head onto the road in the cold is going to help you out, because you can check for blown bulbs and cracks before you go. You need to have lights that are legal for your car, and checking the lights are working before you go will save you from being pulled over later.

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Emergency Kit

You probably already have a spare bag of essentials in the trunk of the car, but as the weather is colder, it’s a good idea to add batteries, torches, candles and matches, blankets, extra first aid kits and a couple of extra winter coats. Things like socks may sound like a daft idea, but having them in the car can make a difference if you breakdown on the side of the road in the middle of a wintry night. Having a fully charged and switched off spare cell phone will also be a good idea – just in case.

Insurance

The last thing you need to do to get your car winter ready is to check your insurance cover. You need to make sure that you upgrade to comprehensive breakdown cover, as this can give you the peace of mind that you need to know that you won’t be waiting on the side of the road for hours for a rescue team. Check your policy and ring your insurance company before you head out on a journey.

Car maintenance is always important, but in the colder months it’s vital for survival – and not just yours. Your car is a big purchase, and taking care of it will change the game if you do it right.

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