posted 7 years ago

Preparing Your Car For Winter

Preparing your car for winter is easier than over-eating on Christmas day.

Preparing your car for winter is easier than over-eating on Christmas day. One of the most important steps is to check the tyres. But why? Only a small part of each tyre touches the road at one time and these help motorists steer, accelerate, and stop. That is quite a task even in perfect conditions. Check for splits, tears, and that the pressures are correct. Too much or too little air affects braking and stability, and causes premature wear. Furthermore, check the tread depth is adequate as this is all that clears rain water and slush. The legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre, and around its entire circumference. For superior performance change tyres once their tread hits 3mm.

One of the most frequent challenges for winter drivers is poor visibility. Just ask Santa. So, check your windscreen wipers are effective and also clean the windows, mirrors, and lights. Check the bulbs too. Furthermore, concentrated screen wash in the vehicle's reservoir needs to be a strong mix to prevent it freezing. Aim for 50% wash and 50% water. It is also worth protecting your gleaming paintwork with a coat of wax, as salt from gritting lorries makes cars deteriorate quicker than stale mince pies.

These steps can be taken with very little mechanical knowledge, but some require a specialist. As such, it is worth asking a friendly mechanic – preferably one wearing a festive musical tie – to check the battery, anti-freeze, filters, belts, hoses, and brakes. There may be a small charge for this service – but that is preferable to breaking-down on Christmas day with a car full of excited kids. That event could make a terrifying horror film.

It is also wise to carry a 'supply kit' next to your pile of Christmas presents. Windscreen de-icer is essential, as is a decent scraper. Warm clothing, fluorescent jackets, and refreshments come in handy too – and it is sensible to have a tyre pump, warning triangle, and shovel. My shovel collapses, so it takes-up less space in the boot than a letter to Father Xmas. Speaking of which, how will the old man get my Porsche down the chimney?