getting your car ready for winter
We've consulted motoring experts for top tips to help you get your car ready for winter.
Here are their 10 best pieces of advice:
1. Check the battery
During the colder months, your battery works a lot harder due to the cold temperatures and the increased use of your heater, blower and lights. If you haven't charged your car battery recently, there is a chance the cold weather may prevent it from starting. You might also want to consider replacing your battery if it's more than 5 years old, as that's the average battery life according to the AA. If you're unsure head to your local garage to get it checked over.
2. Don't run on empty
Keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in your car during the winter. Your car is more likely to use more fuel in the winter months and you never know when the weather is going to turn or if you're going to be delayed unexpectedly.
3. Check your oil
It's important to check your oil levels all year round including winter. Make sure your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on the dipstick.
4. Clean your lights
In winter we have more dark hours than light, meaning that for many months we are driving to and from work in the dark. It's very important to clean and check your exterior lights regularly, especially because salt and dirt can quickly reduce the effectiveness, meaning your visibility to other road users is poor, increasing your chance of an accident.
5. Check your tyres
Check your tyres for general wear and tear and most importantly, tread depth. Also double check you have the correct pressure in your tyres, if you're unsure check your owner's handbook for the correct inflation levels. If you do a lot of driving in poor weather conditions, you might consider fitting winter tyres as they will give you more grip and shorter stopping distances.
6. Prepare for long journeys
In the winter you should always allow extra journey time when making a trip as you also don't want to be rushing around as the roads are much more likely to be in worse conditions due to bad weather. Before setting off you should always check the weather forecast and travel news in the area you're travelling to.
7. Check your windscreen wipers and screen wash
Rainfall is a lot higher during autumn and winter months, meaning you are using your windscreen wipers a lot more. It's important to check they are in good shape and have no cracks or splits along the blades. Also make sure your screen wash is topped up as the gritters are out in full force during the colder days, meaning the road salt is drawn up to your windscreen, meaning you need working wipers and lots of screen wash!
8. Check your breakdown cover
The last thing you want to happen is to breakdown and realise your breakdown cover has expired, leaving you stranded in the cold. Double check your policy to make sure it hasn't run out.
9. Get your car serviced
If your car is due a service, now is the time to get it booked in. A fully serviced car is much less likely to break down.
10. Carry a winter car breakdown kit
No matter how much you prepare, there is always a change you might break down. We recommend keeping a winter car breakdown kit in your boot. This can include a torch, some batteries, a blanket, snacks, first-aid kit, phone charger, jump cables and a shovel.