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How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

As we head towards the winter months, you might be dreading the cold, dark days and bad weather. But you should remember that winter is tough for your car as well. If you want to ensure that your car stays reliable and safe, here are some tips to prepare it for winter.

Have Your Car Serviced

You should always follow the recommended service intervals for your vehicle, but it’s particularly important as winter approaches. Regular servicing and maintenance can prevent a lot of problems. If your car is due a service in the near future, have it done before the winter sets in. Garages often have special offers for winter car checks.

Check Your Battery

Getting stranded with a flat battery in cold weather is no fun. Your car’s battery has to work much harder in the winter. Cold temperatures reduce its output and cause it to lose its charge faster. Additionally, you spend more time with your lights, wipers, heater and blower on, putting it under extra strain. Car batteries typically last from three to five years so, if yours hasn’t been changed recently, get it checked and, if necessary, replaced.

Top Up Your Antifreeze

During the year, many of us top up our engine coolant with water, which dilutes the antifreeze content. When the weather turns really cold, the coolant can freeze and cause serious damage to your engine. If you’ve had your car serviced, the garage should have checked the coolant, which should be 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. To be on the safe side, have the mix tested. Many garages will do that for no charge.

Check Your Tyres

In wintry weather, you want to be confident that your car will grip the road and that you’ll have effective braking and steering. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm, but for winter, 3mm is recommended. Make sure that the tyres have the optimum pressure for the best grip. If you live in an area that experiences long periods of snow, consider changing to winter tyres or carry snow chains.

Replace Your Wiper Blades

Check the condition of your wiper blades. Any cuts or nicks can cause rain or snow to smear across your windscreen, which is as dangerous as it is annoying. It is safer to err on the side of caution and replace them. Also, make sure there are no chips or cracks in your windscreen as these can worsen in freezing temperatures. In your washer fluid, use a stronger mix of antifreeze, which should also help to keep your spray nozzles from freezing.

Check Your Lights

Make sure that all of your lights are working properly, including your brake lights, reversing lights, and fog lights. Check the high and low beams of your headlights. Inspect the lenses for damage and clean them regularly. Carry a spare set of bulbs and know how to fit them.

Number Plates

Your number plates can easily get smeared with dirt and grime from the winter roads. It’s a legal requirement for them to be visible at all times so you should give them a daily wipe to keep them in good shape. In addition, if you’ve invested in your own personalised number plates and proudly displayed them on your car, you want them to be seen.

If you’re looking for private number plates, CarReg offers a convenient search feature to help you find the perfect registration.