Windscreens are starting to freeze over and grit is being spread as the roads start to frost – winter can be tough on your vehicle and breakdown companies will often see a surge in vehicle breakdown callouts during winter.
Follow our winter maintenance checklist to ensure you don’t end up waiting for a tow on the side of the road this winter.
Battery Unperformance Or Failure During Winter
Low winter temperatures can reduce the life expectancy of your vehicle’s battery and increase the chances of it going flat; cold weather may also cause difficulty in getting your vehicle to start after a chilly night.
To ensure you don’t end up scrabbling around for the jump leads before work, store your vehicle in your garage to protect it; if you don’t have a garage, a sheet of tarpaulin or proper cover will do the job.
If you do notice any overall underperformance in power from your vehicle, it could be a sign that your battery is on the way out. You may notice slow startups, difficulty to start the engine at all, dashboard warning lights or issues with your vehicle’s electrical components such as lights.
In case of emergency, always keep a set of jump leads in your vehicle– you can find a video tutorial on how to jump-start your vehicle here.
Tyre Maintenance Throughout Winter
When the roads start to become frosty or when it snows, having well maintained tyres can be the difference between a controlled stop and losing control. Throughout winter, you should regularly check the tread and pressure of your tyres; check out our guide to proper tyre maintenance for more information.
Whilst winter tyres are not compulsory, they can be an option worth considering for drivers regularly commuting throughout winter. They have a higher silica content, which prevents them from hardening and gives them a better grip on the road. (just remember to change them back when winter is over!)
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Your Stopping Distance In Icy Weather
In icy weather, your stopping distance can be up to 10 times longer than in normal conditions. For this reason, it is important that you drive carefully, stick to speed limits and decrease speed early if you notice ice on the roads.
It is also important that your brakes are functioning as best they can. We offer free brake checks for all drivers in the Chepstow, Gloucestershire and Monmouth areas so there is no excuse this winter!
Lights and Windscreen Protection
With snowfall, sun glare, darker evenings and fog to consider – good visibility is absolutely essential throughout winter. Before you set out on a journey, check the following:
- All your lights are working (fog lights, sidelights, hazards – don’t forget to check your interior light).
- Your windscreen fluid is topped up and suitable for winter.
- Visually inspect your wiper blades for splits and cracks, any damage will reduce their performance significantly.
- Your windscreen is properly de-iced before setting off. If you’re still using hot water – have a look at our guide to properly de-icing your windscreen.
- You have enough petrol for your journey plus extra miles - traffic jams are a lot more common in cold weather.
- You have the correct lights on - we see so many drivers with no rear lights on driving in the darker weather.
Autocare Tip! – Never use water as an alternative to windscreen fluid – it won’t clean as well and it can freeze overnight, blocking your fluid dispensers.
Essential Winter Vehicle Equipment
In addition to the considerations above, you should keep the following essentials in your vehicle throughout winter:
Hazard Triangle – This should ideally be on hand all year around. When visibility is low throughout winter, these simple but effective reflective triangles give other drivers sufficient notice of a breakdown.
In-car Charger – Most newer vehicles have USB ports for chargers. In older vehicles, you will need to buy an adapter for your cigarette lighter, these can be purchased online and at most petrol stations.
Ice Scraper and De-Icer – Using a spray in conjunction with your ice scraper will be more effective when clearing your windscreen of thick ice.
Torch – If your battery dies, your lights will not work. A torch can help you alert other drivers as well as give you visibility in the darker nights.
First Aid Kit – Another essential that should be in your boot at all times.
Tow Rope – Handy to have available but should only be a necessity if you live in a remote location.
Professional Winter Vehicle Checks and Maintenance At Autocare Chepstow
With the temperature certainly dropping, is it time you brought your vehicle in for a winter service? If you require any maintenance, repairs or advice in Chepstow or the surrounding areas for your vehicle – please give one of our team a call on 01291 627 137.