Breakdowns are more common in winter and conditions on the road can be difficult in snow, ice and heavy rain. Here are five areas to pay special attention to:
1. Batteries and electrics
There are extra demands on batteries and electrics in winter, thanks to lights, heating and wipers. Turn off electrical loads like lights, heated rear window and wipers before trying to start the engine and if the engine doesn't start quickly, wait 30 seconds between attempts.
Antifreeze only costs a few pounds, but a frozen engine will cost hundreds to repair. You need a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water for the winter as this protects your engine down to -34C. Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze so you should make sure you use the right type.
Clean your windscreen inside and out and keep the windscreen and other windows clear of dirt and snow. Clear snow from the roof to stop it falling onto the windscreen and replace worn or damaged wiper blades. Use a suitable additive in your screenwash to stop it freezing.
Make sure all lights are working and lenses are clean and keep number plates clean to avoid unnecessary fines. You must always use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced. If you use fog lights, remember to switch them off when visibility improves so they don’t dazzle other drivers or obscure your brake lights.
At least 3mm of tread is recommended for winter driving. Don't let air out of your tyres to get more grip as it’s unsafe. Only use snow chains if there’s enough snow to prevent damage to the road and think about investing in winter tyres or all-season tyres.
Remember that you always allow extra time for winter journeys and should try to leave the house at least ten minutes early in order to de-ice the car. Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer and use a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock. It is also worth considering planning your routes to favour major roads, which are more likely to be cleared and gritted.
For winter driving advice from the experts, speak to the Worcester’s Mobile Mechanic team on 01905 358217.