The Independent London Newspaper
21st August 2014

Letters

Feature: How do I make sure my car is ready for winter?

Published: 13 November, 2012
ADVERTISING FEATURE

With the cold weather already underway, it’s time to think about getting your car ready for winter. The harsh conditions of the typical British winter make it vitally important to take precautions to ensure that you and your car make it through to spring without any incidents. Here are a few steps that you might want to take:

Change the oil

In cold conditions, oil tends to thicken, and if it gets too thick it won’t be able to lubricate your engine properly. This is why it is important to switch to an oil type with a lower viscosity before the cold weather kicks in. Check the owner’s manual for details of the types of oil to use for different temperatures and climates.

Check the windshield blades

Under normal conditions, you can usually get through the warmer months with slightly worn windshield blades, but this literally won’t cut any ice when the weather turns against you. Wiper blades usually start to lose their effectiveness after about a year, so unless you have replaced them recently, you should do so before the winter weather kicks in. You should also be sure to fill the windscreen washer reservoir with windscreen washer fluid, as water will freeze up in cold conditions and check to see that your heater and defroster are working as they should.

Give the battery the once over

Being unable to start the engine can be a huge inconvenience at the best of times, but the last time you want it to happen is in the middle of a blizzard. Therefore, you should check the battery connectors for signs of corrosion and that the water is topped up. Also, if your battery is more than three years old you should get a mechanic to test its ability to hold a charge.

Look at the belts and hoses

Cold weather can really wreck the belts and hoses in an engine, so if they are worn to begin with, the chances are that they will tear or snap over the winter months. These can go quite quickly so, unless your car is brand new, it is worth having a look at these before it gets too cold.

Check the tyre pressure

When the road is icy, snow-covered or wet you need all the traction that you can get in order to stay on the road. As the only point of contact with the road, your tyres need to be shipshape in order to keep you safe in these conditions. Check the air pressure and if any of your tyres are nearing the minimum tread depth you should have them replaced.

Get the antifreeze mixture right

It’s no use putting antifreeze in your car if it is likely to freeze up at cold temperatures. The ideal ratio of antifreeze to water is 50-50 and you can check this by using an inexpensive antifreeze tester. If it isn’t right you should drain and refill the cooling system with a fresh mixture, being careful to dispose of the old mixture correctly.

This information was provided to you by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk).

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