Winter is a slog for our vehicles. The RAC alone attend 2.5 million broken down vehicles each and every year, while it’s estimated that as many as 900,000 of these will be during the winter months (the RAC also state that 10% of us aren’t completely confident that our cars are going to make through the winter).
According to Hertz, the top five reasons why vehicles break down each winter are as follows: 18% battery; 15% tyres; 8% engine;7% mechanical and 5% other. With this knowledge in hand, here is our expert guidance as to how you can take care of your vehicle this winter.
1. Keep on top of your antifreeze
Should you allow your antifreeze to run dry, you could be looking at a repair that reaches into the hundreds (a frozen or cracked engine is serious and time-consuming business for mechanics). Antifreeze will protect your system even against lows of up to -34°.
2. Ensure that your battery is healthy
It’s recommended that you should buy a new battery every five years, however you should also look out for warning signs that your battery is waning – such as the engine being slow to start, the engine light appearing, low battery fluid levels and battery leak. You can also visually inspect your battery by looking out for corrosion at the points where the terminals and cables connect.
3. Tyres – Check them regularly
Ensure that you’re driving on tyres that have the correct tread, are filled to the right air pressure and that are completely free from signs of heavy wear and tear.
If you’re able to, you should switch to winter tyres. While more expensive, they provide better grip on the roads and can help you more easily overcome ice and snow.
4. Check your wind washer fluids
You need both water and windscreen wiper wash over the winter months to cut through all the grime, dirt and salt. Check these levels at least once a week – the alternative could be a seriously impacted view of the road ahead of you.
5. Be sure to have an emergency winter kit in the car
There’s no way that you can be sure of not breaking down – so prepare for the worst:
- Always carry a fully charged mobile
- Pack into the boot a blanket, unperishable food and water.
- Keep a touch handy