Monday, 17 December 2018

Take these top tips to be winter-ready

WITH winter on its way, Motor Codes, the government-approved consumer watchdog for the automotive industry, is

WITH winter on its way, Motor Codes, the government-approved consumer watchdog for the automotive industry, is urging motorists to “winterproof” their cars.

Its online winter driving tips will help drivers to ensure their vehicles are prepared for winter driving conditions, and help avoid expensive repairs.

Here are Motor Codes’ top 10 tips for winter-proofing your car:

1. Top up antifreeze. It’s an obvious tip, but you’d be amazed by the number of people who fail to maintain the right level of antifreeze in their vehicle. Without adequate antifreeze, sub-zero temperatures can do untold damage to your engine.

2. Make sure your windscreen is clear. In the winter, spray, grit and slush can obscure the view through your windscreen and compromise your safety. Your windscreen wipers and washer fluid are the only defence against this. So make sure the wipers are working smoothly and don’t leave streaks, and that the washer fluid is always topped up.

3. Keep your battery charged. Your car battery works harder during the winter months: the heating’s on full-blast, de-misters are working overtime and, because of the shorter daylight hours, headlights are on for longer.

4. Check your tyres. Balding tyres are a safety hazard at any time, but in winter the risks of an accident are even greater. So make sure that all four tyres have the safe amount of tread.

5. Test your brakes. The roads are wetter and more slippery in winter than at any other time of the year, so it’s vital that your brakes are up to the task. Some newer cars are fitted with sensors that will tell you when the brakes need replacing. Otherwise, you can ask your local garage to test your brake pads, discs and pipes.

6. Protect your car body. Nothing ages your car body quicker than exposure to the grit and salt sprinkled on the roads in the winter. Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to keeping corrosion at bay, so wash and wax your car before the harsh weather sets in.

7. Replace belts and hoses. Cold temperatures can weaken the rubber belts and hoses under your car’s bonnet, and you don’t want something to snap out on the road on a cold winter’s night.

8. Don’t run the tank empty. In sub-zero temperatures, your fuel-line may freeze up meaning that your car won’t start. You can prevent this simply by making sure your fuel tank is always more than half-full.

9. Keep an emergency kit in your car in case you break down and find yourself stuck out in the cold. Your kit should include boots, blankets, torch and batteries, first aid kit, jump leads, shovel, road atlas, de-icer and sunglasses (winter sun can be dazzling).

10. Get a timely service. You can address many of these winter-proofing tips in one go by paying a visit to your local garage. Many now offer special winter checks.

If you’re in doubt about whether your car is winter-ready, check out Motor Codes’ handy infographic guide at www.motorcodes.

You can also use the site’s garage finder to search for a local garage to help give you peace of mind.

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