One of the most important things you can do before you set out on a journey this Winter is to thoroughly check your vehicle and inventory before you set off. Some items such as a first-aid kit, road map and reflective warning sign you should carry at all times in your vehicle, but in Winter make sure to have the following:
One of the most common reasons the RAC gets called out in Winter is for flat batteries, because they run down quicker in colder temperatures.
As far as vehicle maintenance goes, checking your battery is one of the most straightforward tasks to undertake by using a car battery tester. You will need to purchase a battery tester – some just show a green or red light for a charged or uncharged battery, whilst others offer a voltage read-out. A reading of less than 12.4 volts is generally a sign that the battery needs to be charged, but always refer to the manual. It is recommended that you check your car battery at least once a week during Winter and charge it if required.
Ensuring that the level of coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers should be part your car maintenance routine all-year round. However in Winter it’s also important to make sure that there’s sufficient antifreeze in the coolant.
If you’re uncertain, have a look at your handbook, browse tutorials online or get a local garage to check the strength. Anti-freeze is cheap while damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive to put right.
Whilst you’re already under the hood, make sure you have enough screenwash in the tank. The screenwash concentration must be suitable for cold conditions in the Winter, and not all variants and brands are the same so look for the temperature it protects down to.
Ideally the minimum protection you want is down to -35c at a dilution of one part screenwash to one part water.
Wiper blades can become frozen to the glass in Winter. They are easy to damage so take care when freeing them up and check them for damage when doing so.
Check the condition of your tyres to make sure that the tyre tread is deep enough. Use this handy RAC guide if necessary.
Check the tyre pressure often, and make sure to look out for any splits or bulges.
If you live in an area at high risk of snow consider buying winter tyres or snow socks which give your vehicle greater traction and control.
If there is a storm approaching, snow on the road or icy conditions outside, first consider if your journey is really necessary. If you’re unsure, a good place to start is the Met Office Cold Weather Alert site which runs from 01 November - 31 March each year. If the warning level is yellow, amber or red, or police have closed roads near you, think twice before heading out. Another useful resource is the Highways Agency Traffic Information site, which checks for congestion on major roads.
However some journeys are vital, so here are some hints and tips for driving in Wintery conditions.
Remember to take your breakdown telephone help-line number with you on all journeys. If you’re affected by snow, storms or high winds and need help with making a claim, MORE THAN claims helplines are available 24 hours a day.
Find out more about insuring your car with MORE THAN.