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How to winterize your car

Avoid breakdowns by winterizing your car

Avoid breakdowns by winterizing your car

The winter weather can make for dangerous driving, with snow and ice leading to collisions and accidents. These conditions can play havoc with your car, and without the right preparation and treatment damage can be caused to your vehicle. Being involved in a serious accident is stressful and can result in long-term injury and loss of earnings as a result. However, preventing accidents should always come first, and this includes maintaining your car throughout the harsh winter months.

Car checks you should do

There are a number of checks you do should do before setting out on a car journey in wintery weather. Check screenwash and make sure this is kept topped up, and prevent it from freezing by using a designated additive. Also keep your fuel tank topped up, as having to make de-tours to avoid impassable roads could mean using more fuel than expected. Tyres should be checked throughout the year, though during the winter this is of particular importance in order cope with icy conditions. Tyres should be inflated correctly and have a minimum of 3mm of tread. Before getting into your car clear all windows and mirrors of snow and ice using a scraper and de-icer. Hot water should never be used as it can crack windscreens.

Tyres should be inflated correctly and have at least 3mm of tread

Tyres should be inflated correctly and have at least 3mm of tread

Doing checks of even the most simple of things before a winter journey could prevent severe problems from occurring on the road. Always carry a spare set of lights – in the winter these get extra use, so back-ups are essential. Minor issues with brakes are exacerbated in winter, and could cause skidding on icy road surfaces. Make sure, therefore, that brakes are in top working order: you may wish to visit a mechanic for these checks. Wiper blades also have to work harder during the winter months, though during snowfall are vital in keeping clear visibility, so should be maintained and replaced regularly.

Emergency Suppliers to keep in your vehicle

Getting caught out in the snow whilst on the road can be dangerous, so keep emergency supplies in your car during the winter months. Warm clothing should be packed including clean, dry shoes. Driving in snowy or icy boots is never advised as feet can slip on pedals. Jump leads, a shovel and cat litter or sand should be included, to help get your car road-worthy if an incident occurs. Finally, always keep a warning triangle, first aid kit, torch and supplies of food and water if setting out on a long journey.

Extra caution on the road will also lessen the risk of damage to your car and help prevent accidents from occurring. Accelerate slowly, reduce your speed, and practice maneuvers gently. Allow extra space between your vehicle and that in front, in case you have to brake suddenly. When descending hills switch to a low gear and make sure you select this as early as possible. If you find yourself begin to skid, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direct of the skid.

By preparing in advance, making simple checks to your vehicle and handling your car with caution, the road can be a safe environment for all users during winter.

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