LCH Winter Driving Tips (Preparation)
After a surprising few months of warm Summer evenings and glorious sunny days, we almost forgot about the mighty Beast from the East and the biting cold it brought with it. With the arctic weather brought treacherous driving conditions and now that the cold is finally starting to settle in, over the next few blog posts, we’ll be giving you some top tips for staying safe whilst driving through the winter months.
This post will be focusing on how to prepare for the winter months. Before you even start driving in cold weather, you need to make sure your car is ready to do so. It’s an inconvenience breaking down on a warm sunny day but on a freezing day in the snow, it’s dangerous. Below are a few checks you should perform with your car before the cold weather hits:
Car batteries typically have a shelf life of five years and over the winter, they are put to the test with the use of lights, heating and windscreen wipers. It’s worth taking your vehicle to a garage to have your battery tested. It should be fully charged and in a good condition but if you are worried still, you can always buy a set of jump start cables if needed.
Lights and Brakes
With poor weather conditions brings poor road conditions. Ice, dirt and salty roads means a freshly valeted car will not last for long! More problematic than that, is your lights can easily become covered and reduce visibility to both yourself and other road users. Make sure you clean them often and make sure all of your lights are working, including fog lights. Also, once visibility improves, remember to turn off your fog lights if you have them on, they can dazzle other road users or obscure your brake lights.
Frosty and wet conditions dramatically increase stopping distances, sometimes up to 10 times longer. Ensure your brakes are working correctly before heading out for the winter.
Under the Bonnet
Antifreeze only costs a few pounds and is a lot more cost efficient that replacing your entire engine. During the winter, it is recommended to have a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze as this will protect your engine down to -34 degrees (enough to withstand even the coldest British weather fronts!) If you’re unsure, check with your local garage who will be able to advise on the right concentration.
Ensuring you use the right type of oil for your car in winter is essential. Using the incorrect oil in cold weather can make it thicken, potentially damaging your engine. To check what oil you need to use in your vehicle, you can look in your vehicle manual or ask at your local manufacturer’s service centre.
Another liquid under the bonnet you need to be aware of is windscreen wash. In the winter you will go through a lot more wash than in the summer due to spray from the roads, especially after spreading. You can buy good quality windscreen wash that is effective down to -20 degrees and in the winter, you do not have to water it down. Keep the wash neat to ensure you have the protection needed.
Lastly, check your windscreen wipers. If they are smearing dirt across the screen you will need to clean them. If this does not work you will need to replace them. Something to remember when the bad weather does hit, when leaving your car, ensure your windscreen wipers aren’t on or on automatic. If the windscreen wipers freeze to the screen, you could damage the wipers or the motor when you turn your vehicle back on.
These are just some helpful tips to keep in mind before heading out in bad weather. Our next post will be all about what to keep in the vehicle through the winter months.
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