The UK is set for a wintery blast in the coming days so now is the time to prepare your car for snow, sleet and freezing temperatures. We thought we’d provide some helpful advice for keeping your car protected during this cold winter snap and keep you safe. Here’s our top snow tips for ensuring your car is kept running during these times.
Parking your car during snow
Ideally if you have a garage it’s best to park your car there since it will keep your car warmer than outside and protected from snow and ice forming on it, which also makes your life easier when you come to start it in the morning. However, if your garage has a long drive then consider whether the drive itself will be safe to drive on if there’s snow and ice, otherwise you’ll have to clear the way before you set off. Alternatively, you could keep your car parked on the road so you avoid having to clear a path or defrost the drive. Whilst your car won’t be as warm as being in the garage, at least you’ll have a shorter journey to get onto a main road which should be gritted. On that note, if you’re parking your car on a main road consider when the salt gritter will appear on your road – usually during the early to late evening – otherwise you could find your car is sprayed with salt from the gritter and in the worst case the bodywork could be scratched. To ensure your windows don’t have to be defrosted in the morning it’s a sensible idea to invest in some windscreen shields, or even a car cover which you can simply remove in the morning and then reapply when you’ve reached your destination.
Invest in antifreeze for your car
It goes without saying that ice is hazardous not only for the road surface but also your visibility when driving. That’s why it’s sensible to always have on hand in the car some anti-freeze spray should you visit the shops and find your car frozen over with ice. A scraper with a handle is better than using a credit card and easier on your hands too. If you haven’t recently had a car service then it’s advisable to check the radiator has enough anti-freeze / coolant solution inside it, otherwise if the water inside the radiator freezes it could be an expensive fix. It also helps to purchase some ready mixed screen-wash which has anti-freeze properties, then top-up your screen wash reservoir before the snow and ice sets in.
Are the roads safe enough?
Consider your best journey to work during snow and ice. That quiet country lane shortcut may be ideal in the summertime but in winter when there’s black ice lurking about, these routes often aren’t gritted by the local council so you could find yourself in trouble. We suggest that you keep to major A roads and motorways where you can on your journey and check the traffic reports before you set out, as well as keeping updated in your car via the radio on new incidents in your area. Should the roads outside look too icy or snow-filled it’s best to consider whether your journey is necessary at this time. Safety is key here and most employers are very understanding if you can’t get to work due to the weather. If you really need to drive on the roads check the weather forecast to see if the snow and ice is going to melt a few hours later. Postponing your journey could save time and your life on the roads, especially in these types of extreme conditions.
Drive slowly on snowy and icy roads
When you do venture out on the snowy or icy roads, ensure you’re wearing comfortable, dry shoes for driving and even take a pair of wellies to walk in the snow with in case you breakdown. When setting off try pulling away in second gear, slowly taking your foot off the clutch which helps to avoid wheel-spin. Leave plenty of room in front of you whilst driving to allow for increased braking distances as your tyres are likely to have less grip. Plus dependant on the conditions you may not be able to see ahead of you very clearly. When applying your brakes do so gently otherwise you could skid. Go through your gears to help assist with your braking too. Automatic vehicles may have a mode to help you in tough driving conditions, or allow you to engage into 2nd gear straight away. In either case consult your vehicle’s handbook. Should you get stuck in the snow it’s best to clear as much snow from the wheels as you can and straighten your steering. If you have any old rugs in the boot try lying them on the road in front of your wheels to help with grip and it should get you back moving again.
Prepare your car for winter with an MCM Garage service in Bath
Winter can cause more things to go wrong with your car than any other season. It’s sensible if you haven’t recently had a service to book one before the ice and snow hits to save yourself a breakdown. Here at MCM Garage we service all types of makes and models of cars, not just VWs, Audis, SEATs and Skodas. If you live in the Bath or Radstock area we’d be happy to book you in for a car service and can even provide you with a courtesy car. Please contact us on 01761 415 501 or fill out our online form to book a car service appointment.