Winter’s clearly on its way and it’s getting to the time of year when no one wants to get out of bed, regardless of how much of a morning person they are. It’s not just us that find the cold, dark, icy conditions a constant battle though, they’re just as tough on our cars.
The volume of calls received by the AA breakdown service skyrockets in winter every year with over 1,000 breakdowns being recorded every hour. You might think you’re okay if you have a good breakdown policy in place because it means you can avoid high call out charges and being stranded for hours at the side of the road. However, a breakdown is still inconvenient and can be costly. The key to avoiding an expensive breakdown is to be proactive and try to remedy anything that could become an issue, before you suffer a breakdown.
Throughout the winter, unfortunately, ice on the windscreen is something that everyone has to get used to. In order to avoid accidents, it’s imperative you don’t attempt to drive until your windscreen is completely clear.
To make sure you’ve got time to de-ice your car properly you’ll probably need to leave the house earlier in the depths of winter. Make sure you have plenty of de-icer and a good scraper to use whenever necessary. Alternatively, if you’re not one for getting up early, then a windscreen cover is a great investment; just lay it over your windscreen in the evening, remove it in the morning and you’ll have a windscreen that’s free of ice and mist.
One method a lot of motorists use to get rid of the ice on their windscreen quickly, is using hot water. This is something that you should never do because the raid change in temperature can cause the windscreen to crack.
Any lose snow on your vehicle should be removed before you set off for any journey because the police can stop and fine any motorists that fail to do so. This applies to snow on your entire car – even the roof – because lose snow on your car can cause visibility issues for you if it happens to fall over our windscreen – which can cause an accident – but it can also cause obstruction to other drivers if it flies off your car while you’re driving.
As well as making sure the majority of snow is off your car, you need to ensure you’ve cleared your headlights and number plates – covered headlights and number plates is another common reason for being pulled over and fined by the police.
Anti-freeze is used to stop your engine and radiators from freezing during the winter. The level of your anti-freeze is clear and you should make sure it’s between the minimum and maximum lines at all times if you’re to avoid potential damage to your engine.
Adding anti-freeze to your car isn’t like filling the water bottle or topping up your oil. If you make a mistake, it can be costly, so if you’re unsure what solution is suitable for your vehicle, take it to a car dealership or a mechanic.
Your oil level is another thing that you should check on a regular basis, especially through the winter. If you allow your oil levels to get too low then this can also cause a significant amount of damage to your engine.
Your oil level is easy to check and to rectify – just make sure your engine is cool before doing it.
One of the most common reasons for breakdowns in the winter is a flat battery – accounting for about a third of breakdown callouts. Extra strain is put on your car’s battery during winter because of all the extras that you use in your car, for example, your headlights are on a lot more than in the summer, the heating system and other electrical components all contribute to battery usage.
These are just a few of the precautions you can take to try to ensure your car doesn’t let you down over the winter months. However, make sure you’re ready for the cold with a good breakdown policy just in case.