Get your car ready for winter

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Winter is the time of year when you’re especially glad to have a warm car to take you right to your front door. But it’s also when you’re more likely to run into trouble on the road — be it a breakdown, accident, or getting stuck due to closed roads or backed-up traffic. Here, Stephen Errity from Auto Express magazine explains that by taking some common-sense precautions and investing in some practical kit, you can minimise the chances of getting stopped in your tracks when the weather closes in.
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Prepare your driveway and/or garage
Prepare your driveway and/or garage
If your garage is crammed with 'stuff', it's time for a clear out to make a warm home for your car during the winter months. This will eliminate many winter motoring issues, not least the need to de-ice your windows. If you don’t have a garage, make sure any drains on your driveway are unblocked so rainwater can flow away before it freezes. Invest in a shovel to clear away heavy snow and have some grit or salt to hand to melt ice and snow.
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Maximise visibility
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Maximise visibility
Dark evenings, heavy rain, snow, fog and dirty roads combine to seriously reduce visibility in winter. Before the weather gets very bad, consider replacing your headlight bulbs and wipers to ensure you can see as clearly as possible. If your windscreen gets very dirty, give it a wipe with a specialised cleaning product after your journey so your wipers don’t have to work too hard. And finally, make sure your windscreen and wipers are fully defrosted before setting off — ice can damage your wipers and make them less effective.
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Use the correct fluids
Use the correct fluids
Make sure whatever screenwash you’re using is suitable for sub-zero temperatures. Some formulas will need to be diluted a bit less than in summer to remain effective, or even used neat if it’s very cold. Anti-freeze is also essential to prevent your car’s coolant freezing when the temperature drops. Finally, make sure you have  de-icer to hand - using boiling water to clear a frozen windscreen can crack the glass. 
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Wear the correct clothing
Wear the correct clothing
If you get stranded in your car, you don’t want to risk running out of fuel by leaving your engine running so keep a warm jacket and gloves with you at all times. Sunglasses are also recommended, as sunshine on fresh snow can create a very bright glare. And if you prefer to wear light, thin-soled shoes for driving, consider keeping some grippy boots in the car in case you need to get out and push, or walk to get help.
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Fit winter tyres
Fit winter tyres
Some people think winter tyres are not necessary in the UK due to our relatively mild winters, but it doesn’t have to be snowing heavily to benefit. Winter tyres grip the road better, and will bring you to a stop quicker in the cold, wet conditions typical of UK winters.
Auto Express’ current winter tyre champion is the Nokian WR D3, with the Continental ContiWinterContact TS 850 and Goodyear UltraGrip 8 performance also being top performers. But even the lowest-rated winter tyre is far superior to the best summer tyres in snowy or icy conditions.
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Prepare yourself
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Prepare yourself
All of the above tips are vital, but perhaps the most important factor is you, the driver. How you react in bad weather conditions will determine whether you get home safely.

On snowy or icy roads drive smoothly — sudden or jerky operation of the accelerator, brakes and steering will only make things worse.

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