There’s no denying it now, winter is well and truly on the horizon and with it comes the familiar challenges – wrapping up warm on a cold and blustery day, defrosting your car in time to leave for work and motivating yourself to get up when it’s still dark outside.
Although there’s not much you can do to prepare for those things, one thing you can do is start preparing your car now for the colder months to save you time and money later on!
We’re all dreading it – the mornings where you go to your car and it’s completely frozen over. If your instinct would be to fill up your kettle and pour hot water over the screen to defrost it quickly – don’t! The sudden change in temperature can cause the screen to crack, definitely not what you’d want on a Monday morning. Instead, invest in a scraper or de-icer spray to help speed up the job. Having these in your car should help reduce how much you use your battery to de-frost your windscreen.
Speaking of batteries, they can be the most common cause of winter breakdowns. This is mostly down to the fact that batteries tend not to last any longer than five years, so if yours is coming to the end of its life span, you may be in trouble this winter. As you’ll be using your lights, heater and blower more often, your battery will be under additional strain, so it’s a good idea to make sure yours is up to the job.
To avoid this, get your battery checked before the colder weather starts to kick in. If it needs replacing you may begrudge the additional expense, but at least you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ll be all set for the coming winter – and you’ll be less likely to end up stranded somewhere because your battery’s run out!
As soon as the weather starts to get that familiar winter chill, you should make sure that you top up your engine coolant with antifreeze. For most cars the engine coolant should be a mixture of half water, half antifreeze (but check the manual for your model). The reason for topping this up with antifreeze is that your engine coolant can become over-diluted and freeze during the cold weather, which can lead to your engine over-heating and you having to make a trip to your local garage.
Service your car
According to the AA, up to half of the problems that arise with cars in the winter could have been prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks. If your car is due a service, you might want to think about booking one in before winter arrives. Some garages offer free or discounted ‘winter car checks’ that you could take advantage of, so look out for these deals.