Winter car checklist

by Anonymous Author

To reduce your chance of getting caught out with car troubles, here’s a few simple and inexpensive tips that will help keep you mobile during the colder months:

Cooling system

Generally all modern cars have anti-freeze inhibitors, but it’s a case of making sure there is sufficient for cold conditions. If you haven’t got enough anti-freeze in the coolant system, the engine may freeze up, the engine is put under extreme pressure and components may crack.

Battery

Ironically, it’s heat that is a battery’s worst enemy. But often it’s not until the onset of cold weather and increased engine cranking loads that any weakness is exposed. And it’s then that the battery is likely to fail. The answer? Test your battery before winter takes hold.

Also, make sure you:

• Check battery connections are clean and tight

• Check the fluid levels are correct (for non-sealed batteries only)

• Park your car under cover if you can

• Start it up the day before you drive it to ensure the battery is okay if your car has been sitting dormant for awhile 

Wheels and windows 

Tyres with borderline tread will impede the removal of water in bad weather conditions. It is critical water is dispersed from under the tyre when driving in wet conditions.

Tyres that can’t grip can’t keep you safe. In extreme weather you need to rely on the sticking power of your vehicle’s tread. Visibility is also key in bad weather. Clean windows, clean headlights and effective wiper blades will make a world of difference.

Make sure you:

• Check your car tyres have adequate tread depth (standard tyres must have 1.5mm over three-quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference, while snow tyres have a 4mm requirement) and confirm your tyre pressures are correct

• Check and ensure your washer additive levels are filled. If driving in cold conditions, make sure this additive includes a freezing preventative

• Ensure your wiper blade rubbers are clearing water effectively

Coping with wet weather

Damp weather can put more stress on electrical systems. A service reduces these mechanical pressures.

Deep water and brakes don’t mix. Remember, water is a lubricant, so if you drive through a flooded area and submerge your wheels, your brakes won’t work effectively. Using them a few times once you’re out of that water will help to dry the disks out and get them working again.

This means:

• Service your vehicle before winter sets in

• Pump the brakes a few times to get them back into working order if you’ve driven through water and submerged your wheels.

General tips

• Carry an effective torch in the car and make sure it has working batteries

• Keep warm clothing (or a rug) in the car. If your vehicle breaks down, you might need an extra layer

• Keep your AA Membership card with you. You must present this to receive AA Roadservice assistance

• Keep your cellphone charged up. You never know when you might need it