We are now well into the winter months, and we are coming to the colder end of the year. Winter can be a lovely time of the year with the excitement and buzz of Christmas around the corner. But Winter brings with it weather conditions you need to be wary of. Driving conditions can be a lot more complicated in colder weather, and there is nothing to stop this. You can only make sure that you and your car are ready to face these road conditions.
Tips For Getting Your Car Winter Ready
We have compiled some tips to get your car winter-ready and how to best navigate through these harsher driving conditions.
The colder temperature can affect different parts of your car, so it’s best to be proactive about it rather than waiting until something stops working.
Make sure before every journey that your fuel tank is topped up to prevent condensation from forming. This turns to water in your tank and can cause the risk of freezing if temperatures drop further. It is best to keep fuel tanks at least half full at all times to get ahead of this issue.
Lights and Bulbs
Check that all lights and bulbs are working correctly and that they are clean. This includes all indicators, brake and fog lights. We would recommend keeping spare bulbs in the car in case your lights fail on a journey. Knowing how to change the bulbs is also helpful as all cars are different.
It is vital to check for any windscreen damage caused by stones or debris hitting your windscreen. Please take a look at our recent Windscreen Claims Infographic to get more insights into this.
If you see frost or snow on your windscreen, use an ice scraper to remove it from your car. Avoid turning your wipers until you have de-iced the windscreen or you could be left with having to replace your windscreen wipers completely. Never use boiling water as it could crack your windscreen.
Tyre Pressure and Depth
You are advised never to let your tyre tread depth go below 2mm. In the winter months, we recommend this to increase to 3-4mm. This depth will give you improved steering and braking in these unfavourable winter road conditions. An overinflated tyre can cause your car to slip across the road rather than grip it, which is extremely dangerous.
In the colder weather engine, oil can thicken, making it even harder for your engine to start. Thinner engine oil makes it easier for your engine to start-up in cold weather. Your manufacturer’s manual will have all the relevant information on topping up your oil.
Coolants or antifreeze helps to control the temperature of the fluids in your car and various parts of the engine. Your engine will not overheat or freeze this way. The majority of cars these days use long-life antifreeze, and you should never mix these with a different type of antifreeze. This could cause a lot of damage to your engine. If you don’t know what antifreeze is in your car, ask your car dealer or mechanic, and they’ll tell you.
To prevent freezing on your door locks, we recommend using WD-40 during cold weather. A lubricant such as Vaseline will help prevent the rubber seals on your car door from freezing.
You should prepare an emergency kit when driving in Winter. This kit should include:
- Reflective triangle
- Warm Clothes
- First Aid Kit
- Water and Snacks
- High vis jacket
- Ice Scraper
- Jump leads
- Phone Charger
Driving in Ice and Snow
- Do not drive on icy roads unless the journey is essential.
- Make sure you can see through all windows before driving off.
- Check that all car lights are working.
- Keep a distance from the car in front of you.
- Slow acceleration and braking are essential for driving on snow and ice-covered roads.
- Regularly check your fuel levels.
- Never overtake on icy or snowy roads.
- When going downhill, use the third or fourth gear. When turning a corner, use a lower gear.
For more information on winter driving safety visit the Road Safety Authority website.