If you are planning on visiting family and friends over the next few weeks you need to make sure your car is in tip-top condition to avoid getting stranded in the cold this Christmas.
It will come as no surprise that breakdowns are commonplace in the winter, with batteries and engines more likely to freeze as temperatures plummet and shorter days.
Ice and snow are a concern but wind, rain, standing water can also cause major problems on the roads.
Did you know that insurance claims increase by 12% in the months between November and February?no doubt that weather has a part to play in this.
With this in mind, it’s worth making sure your car is ready for the winter.
Before you head off to see friends and family.....
Here are some of the basic checks you need to carry out:
Check your anti-freeze levels.
Make sure you are carrying de-icer and an ice scraper.
Check your tyres to ensure you have at least the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm. Consider changing to winter tyres with thicker 3mm tread for winter driving, as this gives you better grip.
It's not too late to get your tyres sorted out - just give us a ring.
Clean your lights and check they are working properly. Dirt and salt from the roads will significantly reduce the performance and brightness of your lights - take a damp cloth with you. Just keep it in a plastic bag.
Check your wipers, and top up your oil and windscreen washer fluid.
Ensure your battery is in good condition and fully charged.
A cold engine requires the battery to be in good condition.
See our blog on battery condition
Check the condition of your brakes, as road surfaces become more treacherous at this time of year.
If you need a bit of help we offer FREE winter checks, comprising car batteries, lights, wiper blades, oil levels, screen-wash, tyres.
Darker nights, frosty mornings and icy roads can make driving difficult for even the most experienced motorist.
To make you are safe when embarking on a longer journey, download a satnav app on your phone and check the weather forecast, travel news and safest routes.
Also allow a little extra journey time, just in case there are delays, and remember to plan the best places for rest stops along the way.
Make sure your fuel tank is topped up, in case you end up stuck in traffic – or forced to take a longer, alternative route to your destination.
Tell people of the route you are planning to take, just in case you run into any problems.
If you expecting to make any long journeys at this time of year, it is worth packing an emergency kit for your car.
This should include items such as a torch, blanket, warm jumper, shovel, first aid kit, jump-start cables, mobile charger, high-visibility vest, reflective warning sign – as well as some water, chocolate and other snacks.
If there is ice on the road, you need to drive extremely carefully. Black ice can’t easily be seen, so drive gently and allow plenty of space between you and the car in front. Remember that stopping distances can be longer in ice and snow.
If you do skid, steer in the direction of the skid, and try not to brake or accelerate until you are back in control.
Dropping gears instead of braking can help prevent skidding.
Cover the car windscreen with an old blanket or cardboard to help prevent frost settling.
Clear frosted windows with de-icer and a scraper. Also clear headlights and mirrors.
Avoid pouring warm water over your glass, as if there is already a chip, the temperature change shock could lead to a crack developing.
Remember, warm water evaporates more quickly in the cold and can leave a residue of solid ice on your windscreen which is even more difficult to remove with a scraper. Also be aware that water which runs on to your driveway will quickly turn into an icy slip hazard.
Finally - it is tempting to leave your car running unattended while it defrosts - this is a thief's dream so use the time to write a shopping list, phone a friend or just listen to some music in the car. Don't leave it unattended as you may end up regretting it.
Feel free to call us if you have any questions or need a winter service.
Call us on 01952 585511
Drive safely and have a great Christmas and a happy New Year from us all here at EAC
Member since: 10th July 2012
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