One of the most persistent ongoing running costs for cars is that of repairs. Wear and tear take its toll over the years, and it can provide a severe (and often acute) drain on your wallet. It’s during winter that your car is at its most vulnerable; as such, you’ll want to take a few steps to hold off the worst of the damage.
Get the Car Serviced
A full service will help you to identify potential sources of trouble and eliminate them ahead of time. Many of the problems that develop over winter can be avoided altogether with a pre-emptive service. This investment will pay off in the long run, as you’ll miss out on the expense and inconvenience of a breakdown.
Check the Battery
Batteries are under greater strain during winter, and their output is reduced. Batteries have a natural lifespan, and after a time they won’t be able to hold a charge for long enough. If your battery is showing signs of fatigue, then it might be time to look into a pre-emptive replacement. For example, if you find that you’re struggling to start the car on a cold morning.
Change your Tyres
The tread on your tyres is far more important when the weather gets that little bit colder and wetter. The minimum legal tread depth for your tyres is 1.8mm in the UK, or around the thickness of the border of a 20p piece. You can pick up inexpensive replacement tyres online.
Top up Coolant and Antifreeze
You might not think that your engine would need help staying colder when the weather’s colder. But the coolant (the stuff that helps to transmit heat away from your engine) can’t do its job if it freezes (or isn’t there in sufficient quantity). Top up the reservoir to make sure that you have enough.
Clean your Headlights
Having clean headlights will improve brightness and clarity, and enable you to see what’s in front of you. It’ll also allow you to be seen by others. A quick wipe could be what helps you to avoid a collision.
Wash your Windscreen
On a similar note, cleaning your windscreen will allow you to see the road in front of you that much better. Replacing your screen wash will also help. You can use a slightly higher proportion of concentrate in order to stave off freezing.
Carry a kit for winter breakdowns
Being stranded out in the cold isn’t much fun. Plan for the worst-case scenario, even if you hope that it never arrives. Your breakdown kit should include a blanket and a non-perishable snack or two. Put them in a bag in your boot and forget about them.