The colder and wetter months will always be a time of year that presents a particular challenge for drivers. With all that rain, slush, hail and even potentially snow around, you will have to be vigilant in typical winter conditions – and sure enough, research published by road safety charity Brake indicates that a third of motorists admit to not driving slower when it’s wet.
But of course, it’s not just your driving style, but also the state of your car itself to which you need to pay close attention ahead of the winter. So, let’s guide you through some of the most important things to do in getting your vehicle ready for this tricky season.
Arrange for your car to be serviced
It’s easy to underestimate the wealth of problems that winter conditions – even cold temperatures alone – can cause to cars. This makes it all the more crucial to be alert to any emerging issues with your vehicle, before they have the chance to deteriorate into anything more serious.
But how can you be alerted to developing problems with your car’s battery, tyres, windscreen wipers, oil, or other crucial components? You can’t always depend on spotting them yourself until something catastrophic happens – so it could be well worth booking a service for your vehicle before weather conditions become especially bad.
As a trusted MOT garage in Laindon, Essex, Advanced Service Centre can carry out the comprehensive servicing needed to ensure your car is in tip-top shape as the winter looms.
Have the battery looked at
The battery of a car can be especially vulnerable at this time of year, due to the combined effects of low temperatures – which slow it down and reduce its ability to hold a charge – and the tendency for drivers to use their car’s lights and heating more during the colder months.
According to the Met Office, battery problems cause more RAC callouts during the winter than anything else. The aforementioned car service is a good opportunity to have your battery looked at, which should be an especially urgent priority if you have already encountered some problems getting your car started lately.
That, after all, could be a sign that your battery soon needs to be replaced – and you won’t want to risk ending up stuck in the middle of nowhere due to a battery that has given up the ghost.
Check the tyres and wiper blades
The knowledge that it is your car’s tyres that represent its direct point of contact with the road should instil enough urgency in you to keep a close eye on this all-important rubber.
That will include, of course, routinely checking the tyres for general wear and tear, including any cracks, splits or bulges. But it’s especially important to maintain the right tyre tread depth and air pressure. In the UK, a car’s tyre tread depth is legally required to be at least 1.6mm. You can check this using a tyre gauge, your tyres’ marker bars, or a 20p coin. If you’re using the latter method, your tyres will be legally compliant if you are unable to see the outer band of the coin.
As for the wiper blades, it’s easy for many motorists to forget that these can accumulate a lot of dirt from rain, snow and ice. It’s a good idea to have your wiper blades changed annually anyway, but in the meantime, you can check your current ones are functioning well by spraying some washer fluid and ensuring the wipers are effective in cleaning the windscreen.
Keep an eye on the exterior lights
We’re already firmly into the time of year when it gets frighteningly dark frighteningly early, so it shouldn’t take much explanation to understand why this aspect of winter car preparation is so important.
It is advisable to routinely have your car lights on during the winter even when conditions aren’t all that adverse, as it will help keep you visible on the road. Don’t just check your lights regularly and learn how to replace the bulbs, but also clean them from time to time to guard against build-ups of salt and dirt that could hamper their effectiveness.
Have an emergency kit ready
Could this particular tip be going a bit too far? We would argue not, as even if you’ll only be driving short distances this winter, if you do break down and end up stranded, you’ll almost certainly be glad for having a well-stocked emergency kit with you.
As for what you might include in such a kit, think such things as a mobile phone and charger, a hazard warning triangle, a hi-visibility vest, a first aid kit, a shovel, some Wellington boots, a torch, some warm clothes, and food and drink. In other words, the kinds of things you would be thankful to have in the car, in the event of the worst happening.
Are you looking to have your car serviced or MOTed in readiness for the winter? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today with our team at Advanced Service Centre Laindon, who will be able to advise and guide you in relation to our in-demand services and expertise.