The winter solstice takes place on 21st December and it’s already very wet and chilly. Unfortunately it’s going to get a lot colder before the weather begins to warm up, so we’ve put together a checklist to ensure that your car is ready for winter. As well as helping you to keep your car in full working order, these tips are also designed to make driving safer during the frosty months.
Book a winter service
Unless you’ve very recently had your car checked over by a qualified mechanic, we recommend booking a winter service. This is a great way to have a professional look over the vehicle and identify any minor issues that could potentially grow into larger problems when the temperature drops and the roads become slippery.
Check your car’s battery
The average car battery can last for anywhere from three to five years and it’s easy to lose track of time. If your car battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, it’s important to buy a replacement now. After all, breaking down during the summer months is annoying enough, never mind when the weather is bleak and blustery.
Antifreeze is a must
Good old antifreeze does all kinds of wonderful things for a car. As well as stopping the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing when the thermometer dips below zero, it also increases the boiling point of engine coolant to prevent it from overheating, supports efficient heat transfer for higher performance, and makes corrosion within the engine far less likely. Remember to never leave the house without antifreeze (unless of course you’re taking the bus).
Check your tyre pressure and tread depth
Your car’s tyres have to put up with a lot of harsh treatment, even if you drive it entirely within a city with excellent roads. The pressure and friction of driving causes tyres to lose their tread over time, plus the pressure will gradually drop and fall below safe levels if you don’t check it regularly.
Make sure to check both the pressure and tread of your tyres often during winter. If the tyres have deflated a little, use a tyre pump to get them back up to the right pressure. As for tread depth, this should be around 3mm during the winter months, as it helps them to effectively grip the surface even when there’s snow, ice or hailstones on the road.
Clean your headlights
December, January and February are very dark months, so it’s crucial that your car remains visible in gloomy surroundings and also has the ability to highlight potential hazards ahead. This is easily achieved by keeping your headlights, indicators and rear reflectors clean at all times. In the process, check that all of the lights are working properly, as you’ll be using them now more than ever.
Keep a winter car kit in your vehicle
Carrying emergency items in your car throughout the year is very important, such as screen wash, warning triangles and jump leads. However, winter calls for even more precautions, which include:
- De-icer and scraper
- Shovel for moving snow
- Wind-up torch
- Power bank for your phone
- Thick blankets
- Warm clothes and strong boots
- Sunglasses for when the low winter sun is dazzling
Plan your journey accordingly
Whether it’s the usual daily commute or you’re visiting friends and family, it’s important to bear in mind that car journeys can take longer during winter. This is particularly the case in December due to all of the Christmas traffic and also applies to January onwards because the cold weather can cause delays.
It’s a good idea to give yourself extra time to get from A to B, as it’s far too easy to be late for work or miss appointments as a result of slower traffic on very cold days.
Protect your vehicle from frost
When you’re not driving, it’s a very good idea to keep your vehicle in a garage if you have one. This significantly reduces the chances of constant rain and frost causing rust to form. If you don’t have a garage (and even if you do), we also recommend using a thick car cover. This will help to stop the windscreen from icing over, plus the interior of the vehicle won’t be quite as cold when you’re setting off on your morning drive.
Interested in a personalised registration plate?
Just because the weather outside is frightful, it doesn’t mean you can’t look delightful whilst out on the road. We’re a DVLA Recognised Reseller and a DVLA Registered Number Plate Supplier, working in line with all current DVLA and MOT regulations to provide the very best custom number plates to our customers. Try a number plate search today and find your perfect reg plate in moments, or perhaps check out our regular number plate auctions with low reserves that can start from just £250.
Custom number plates make the perfect gift
If you’re reading this in December, we highly recommend buying a personalised registration plate for a loved one. They really do make a wonderful present and they’re the gift that keeps on giving, as the recipient will enjoy it on a daily basis for many, many years to come. If by the time you read this article the new year has been and gone, make sure to consider a private number plate for an upcoming occasion, which could be a birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation or “just because”.
We offer a price match guarantee
As well as being committed to quality and transparency in everything we do, we’ve also made a commitment to affordability. By offering a price match guarantee, we can confidently say that we will never be beaten on price. If you’re interested in having a chat with our passionate and helpful team about anything related to private registration plates, get in touch for a friendly chat and let us know how we can help.