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Prepare for winter

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Prepare for winter

The best way for your car to survive whatever winter throws at you.

Colder temperatures, poorer weather and more hours of darkness - Winter is a tough time for everyone and everything - but especially for your car. Life on the road more treacherous than at any other time of the year, however, if you plan ahead and follow our tips, you can lessen the impact on your driving experience.

See out of your car...

It is absolutely crucial at any time of the year, but especially in winter, so always keep your windows clean. A major problem in winter is the combination of grimy windows and a low sun - a blinding combination. Before the slush and spray do their worst, make sure everything is clean, inside and out. Also, keep an eye out for any cracks in the screen that can get much worse in cold weather. And last, but not least, keep a pair of sunglasses in the glovebox for that winter glare!

Be seen...

It’s just as important that people can see you and your car. Make sure that your lights are clean and undamaged. Remember,  we mean every light including foglights.

Get a grip...

When the roads get wet or covered in snow and ice... it’s vital that your tyres are in a fit state. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across 75% of a tyre’s width around the whole wheel, but it is recommend to have at least 3mm in winter. You can check the depth using a tread depth gauge or get a rough idea by looking at the tread wear indicators or using a coin. If you have less than 3mm of tread left, it may be time to get the tyres replaced.

Although not a legal requirement in the UK, you could also consider fitting a set of winter tyres.  Winter tyres give more grip and shorter stopping distances in poor conditions. They don’t just work better in snow and ice. As long as the road temperature remains below seven degrees Celsius, they can even be better than the equivalent summer tyre.

Clean your blades...

You can guarantee winter will throw all manner of rubbish onto your windscreen. Make sure your wipers are up to the job of cleaning it away. Remove any muck away from the blades, and if they’re worn or damaged, get them replaced!

Kit yourself out...

Prepare ahead - don’t struggle if the worst does happen. A scraper is vital for clearing snow and ice from the windscreen and a shovel will help dig your way out of snow. It’s also worth loading some old bits of carpet into your boot to put under the wheels to get extra traction. A first aid kit is a good idea, too. And don't forget a torch, a warning triangle and a tow-rope. It’s also worth keepng a hi-vis jacket and some spare warm clothes in the car, as well as some boots, in case you need to walk in snow.

Get topped up...

Ensure all your fluids are at the proper levels - from screenwash to the anti-freeze. Lastly, always make sure you leave a decent amount of fuel in the car. You may need to keep the engine running and the heater on if you get stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Get charged...

It is a tough time on your battery - needing lights, wipers and heating more often than at other times of the year. So, give your battery a health check  and consider replacing it if it’s getting old. According to the AA the average life expectancy of a battery is five years old.

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