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Winter Car Maintenance Checklist

Date: Fri 30th November 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Winter Car Maintenance Checklist

Car maintenance is a year round task for drivers everywhere.  In winter, the change in temperature can affect driving conditions and cause your car to behave differently.

Whether you are planning a road trip, are driving home for Christmas or just want to know the basics of winter car maintenance, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of car care tips to keep you safe on the roads this winter.

Tip #1 – Get your car serviced

Whilst winter weather can have an impact on our cars, regular servicing and proper car maintenance could prevent a lot of problems. Spotting potential problems early on and fixing them when they occur should (hopefully) prevent further problems and costs. If your car is due a service, try to get this done before winter.

Tip #2 – Check your battery

Your car’s battery can really take a hammering during winter months thanks to cold temperatures and increased use of the cars lights, heater and blower. The battery’s metal expands in warm weather and retracts when temperatures drop again, which has an impact on battery health over the years.

You can prolong your battery life with these top tips:

  • Keep your car battery clean – when dirt and engine grease builds up, it serves as a conductor which will drain your battery power. Giving your car battery a wipe down every now and then will prevent this from happening.
  • Turn off your electronics when not in use – this sounds obvious but if the engine isn’t running and your air-con/heating system, lights and stereo are all switched on, then your battery is going to take a hit. When you leave the car double-check that your all of your electronics are switched off.

Tip #3 – Check the condition of your tyres

Making sure that your tyres have the optimum pressure and tread is essential for car maintenance and especially for winter driving when driving conditions worsen. Your tyres play a key part in both steering and braking, so it is important to look after them. To find out what condition your tyres are in, you can use the 20p coin test.

Take a 20p coin and place it into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible when it is inserted, then your tread is below the legal limit and will be classified as unsafe. If you cannot see the coin band, then you’re good to go!

Tip #4 – Check your lights

As the evenings get darker, it is essential to make sure that you check that all of your lights and reflectors are in working order and are clearly visible. This includes your full beam headlights, fog lights and indicators – all of which are essential in letting other road users know what you plan to do.

Tip #5 – Check your antifreeze level (and keep it topped up!)

Checking your car fluids and keeping them topped up is a simple yet essential part of year-round car care. It is important to keep your antifreeze level topped up, even more so in winter months, as this helps to regulate your engine during extreme temperature changes.

Tip #6 – Keep it clean and check your windscreen

  • A clean and clear windscreen improves visibility of the road. The weather can be very unpredictable at the best of times, especially during winter.  Snow, sleet and debris can wreak havoc on your windscreen. Here are a few ways to keep your windscreen clean and clear whilst on the roads:
  • Don’t just use water in your screen wash reservoir as it can freeze. Add a screen wash product and keep an eye on the reservoir level.
  • Check your wiper blades for any nicks or tears. If your wiper blades are smearing your windscreen, you should replace them.
  • Check your windscreen for chips. Chips can grow in cold weather, so it is worth repairing them before the winter months set in.

Tip #7 – Carry a winter emergency breakdown kit

Carrying an emergency breakdown kit in the boot of your car is handy tip year-round, as you never know when you might need it. This might include things such as de-icer, a scraper, a torch, a blanket, etc. To avoid being left stranded in the cold, or to make it just that little bit easier/safer, we’ve compiled a handy Winter Survival Checklist of breakdown kit essentials.

We hope you found this winter car maintenance checklist helpful. For more driving tips and other interesting articles, visit the AutoProtect engage page.

car in freezing weather