Inspect Your Coolant Level
Make sure that your car’s anti-freeze is at the required level. It should be close to the full line as indicated on the reservoir itself. If it has dropped significantly this indicates a fault requiring immediate attention. If it does need to be topped up, it must be with the anti-freeze specified in your car’s handbook at the correct concentration. To avoid an expensive mistake get this done by a qualified mechanic.
Pressure and Tread Tyre Check
The tread depth of a car tyre must not be less than 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. For safe winter driving, however, the AA recommends that the tread should be at least 3mm. You should also regularly check that your tyres’ pressure is at the level recommended in your car handbook. A significant drop could indicate a puncture.
Turn on your indicator, hazard, brake, fog, side, rear and headlights to see if they are all working. Ensure that your internal lights are working too, you want to be able to see inside your car when you are about to step into it after nightfall. Replacing bulbs is a straightforward task, but wear gloves to avoid being stained with engine grease. Carry a few spare bulbs with you in the car, just in case one should blow whilst you are out. Clean the lights regularly, too, so that you get the best view of the road and others can see you clearly.
Flat or faulty batteries are the most common cause of winter breakdowns, as when the temperature drops a car battery takes longer to recharge and the heater, wipers and lights are more likely to be in use together in winter, adding to the pressure on it. The average life of a battery is around five years. If yours is reaching this milestone it’s worth replacing it before it conks out. Some auto stores will run a check on your battery to see how much life is left in it.
As visibility is always worse in winter, it is even more important at this time to ensure that both front and back windscreens are kept clean inside and out. So, keep the screenwash topped up and replace worn wiper blades. If there are any chips or scratches on the windscreen, these should be seen by an authorised repairer. Small marks less than 4mm across can often be repaired, anything larger is likely to require a replacement screen.