It’s getting close to that time of year again when the nights are darker and the weather is colder. Therefore, it’s best to get yourself prepared for all eventualities so you’re not left out in the cold should something with your vehicle go wrong. Here are our top tips on keeping your car running during the winter months.
Check Your Battery
You may think your car starts well and the battery is fine during the Summer but in the winter you’ll find your car is using more battery power to start and warm the vehicle, plus with the need for your lights being on it can really drain an older battery. If your car battery is more than 2 years old and you’re finding it difficult to start the car, it’s a good sign that your battery could do with replacing. Diesel cars also need more battery power on start-up to charge the glow-plugs. If you’re in any doubt about the health of your battery, give us a quick call and we’ll happily check it for you. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the cold due to a dead car battery – best to get it checked before it’s too late.
Check Windscreen Wash Levels
Roads in the winter really can get filthy with salt from gritters and when it rains that muck is usually kicked-up by the car in front on to your windscreen. Therefore, check that you’ve got plenty of screen wash in your car reservoir and that it’s got anti-freeze properties to prevent blockages when you least need them. If you’re in doubt about how to do this, check out our Refilling Windscreen Washer Fluid article.
Wiper Blades Need Replacing?
You may be able to put up with the squeak of old wiper blades but when your vision on the road is impaired by streaky wiper blades you could cause an accident. Wiper blades these days are very easy to replace and one of the cheapest car parts to buy. It seems strange that most drivers neglect this important car maintenance task when it’s so cheap and easy to do. We recommend changing them every year if not sooner. Our handy guide can help you with fitting new wiper blades.
Engine Anti-Freeze Levels OK?
Make sure you check your engine’s anti-freeze levels every month during winter. Not doing so and ignoring dashboard warning lights could ruin your engine and cost lots to repair. Ensure you have the right mix of anti-freeze for the conditions too. This helpful article will help you locate your engine’s expansion tank to check the anti-freeze levels.
Door Locks and Handle Operation
Ice can get to the most awkward of places on a car. Usually you’ll find that keeping some windscreen anti-freeze solution in the house can help with frozen door locks and handles. Another good idea is to lubricate the catches inside with some oil and spray some WD40 inside the locks themselves to keep them moving.
Should you breakdown, it’s not always possible to keep the engine running and the heating on in the car. Therefore, make sure there are some thick blankets kept inside the car to keep you warm. Always dress sensibly for cold weather too. It’s too easy to think it will be nice and warm in the car not to take a coat with you but then find you need it when you breakdown. Gloves will help too when you’re scraping ice of windscreens and when you’re holding a cold, clammy steering wheel.
Check Your Tyres
If there are any signs of wear on your tyres or your tread is getting close to the legal limit then it’s a good time to replace your tyre, especially when road grip can be a lifesaver in bad weather. We have a good article on our website which can help you assess your tyres, or get in touch with us to help you check your tyres.
Spark Plugs OK?
On older cars you may find that your spark plugs are getting worn and probably haven’t ever been replaced before. Therefore, if you can check your spark plugs easily look for signs of wear. Alternatively, we’d be happy to check these for you if you’re unsure. Please get in touch with us.
Need Help Assessing Your Vehicle For Winter?
At MCM Garage we can help service and give your car a full winter check to help avoid any unpleasant surprises your car may throw at you. Please get in touch with us to arrange a health check via our contact page.