Winter Car Check – 7 vehicle checks you should perform before winter

As the nights draw in and the weather takes a turn for the worse; it’s not just us humans that feel the bite of winter – cars can struggle too. They need a little care and attention to ensure they make it through the dark months ahead.

If the last few years are anything to go by, we could be in for another bitter blast and you’re more likely to break down in extreme weather than at any other time – so you need to be sure your vehicle is ready.

Performing a pre-winter check is simple and needn’t be a costly job.

Here are 7 simple checks that the AA advise you should make in order to be sure that your car doesn’t feel the chill this winter.

1. Check your antifreeze

This is vital going into the coldest time of the year. Make sure you check your car’s coolant level regularly and, if required, top-up with a mixture of the correct type of antifreeze. Your local garage can also check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.

2. Take a look at your battery

A battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold – so make sure you get it checked and replaced if necessary. Battery failure is the most common cause of winter breakdowns, so make sure yours is up to the job.

3. See to your lights

On dark winter nights it’s vital that you can see clearly and be seen. Make sure all your headlights and indicators are working properly and ensure you keep spare bulbs in the car in case of emergencies.

4. Examine your tyres

You should have at least 3mm of tread on your tyres for winter motoring. Consider specially designed winter tyres for improved safety if you live in an area that is prone to bad weather. It’s also vital that you check the pressure of your tyres at least every fortnight.

5. Check your windscreen

Making sure your windscreen is clean will prevent dazzling glare at a time of year that the sun is particularly low. This could also be a good time to check your wiper blades are in a good condition as they are bound to get plenty of use. Also, make sure you check for any chips and cracks, as during cold weather these can get worse and ultimately lead to a shattered windscreen.

6. Top up screen wash

Because of the grit that is often used to keep roads from freezing; there’s a good chance your windscreen will need constant cleaning on long journeys. Make sure your reservoir is topped up regularly with a 50% mix of a good quality screen wash and clean water.

7. Keep an eye on your locks

Believe it or not, some people actually fail to get into their cars during extreme winter weather. Don’t be left out in the cold. To stop doors freezing shut, use a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals.  A squirt of WD-40 in the locks will also help to stop them freezing.