The weather at this time of year puts extra strain on our cars; snow, ice and strong winds can make driving conditions hazardous, meaning we need to pay attention to car maintenance. I’ve driven home from work in some awful weather lately, which really made me think about the need to perform simple checks on my car, especially as it’s 16 years old. These essential car maintenance tips will ensure your journeys are as safe and smooth as possible.
Check that all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean. Cars get extremely dirty in winter months due to bad weather and salt on the roads. Wipe down your number plate too as you could be fined if you drive around with an unreadable registration plate. It’s also a good idea to have someone stand outside the car and check all the lights work properly. You might be driving with only one headlight or brake light, which is particularly hazardous in winter.
One of the biggest dangers in winter is a lack of visibility. Replace any wiper blades that are in poor condition and top up your washer fluid with screenwash. Keep some clean cloths in the car too so you can wipe your glass and wing mirrors. Now is the time to check for any chips in the windscreen, as these can become bigger in the cold weather.
It might sound obvious but keeping your car serviced could save a lot of time and money. While the cold can cause lots of problems for cars, many of them can be prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks. If your car is older than three years keep a note of when the MOT is due. This will allow you to book it in at a convenient time and have any necessary work done before it expires. If you are looking for a reliable MOT service centre in London then you can visit Iverson Tyres.
Antifreeze stops the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing, so make sure yours is topped up. If your car’s cooling system doesn’t have the correct amount of antifreeze in it, you could experience a major failure when the temperature falls below zero.
Check your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on your car’s dipstick. If it’s very low it can lead to a breakdown or engine damage. You should check the oil level once your car is fully warmed up as a cold car will appear low on oil. You should see a warning light on the dashboard if your oil level is low, however, you should still check it with the dipstick regularly. I found out a couple of years ago that my warning light had stopped working when I realised my oil level was seriously low. Set a reminder to check it at regular intervals.
A car’s tyres are key to both steering and braking so it’s essential they are in good condition. Check your tyres for both pressure and tread depth. Worn tyres are dangerous at any time, but especially in winter as stopping distances increase in icy, snowy or wet conditions. Tyres need a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm by law, but in winter it’s recommendeded you change tyres at 3mm to maintain safe stopping distances. Don’t forget to check you have a roadworthy spare too.
Your brakes should be in excellent condition, especially in winter. If they squeal, grind or feel juddery you need to get them checked. A noticeable increase in stopping distance is another sign that your car’s braking system is in need of attention. If you’re taking your car out after a few days left unused in the cold, set off gently in case the discs, callipers or handbrake have frozen up.
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Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Iverson Tyres. All words and opinions are my own and completely honest.