Get Set for Winter Driving with Fleetwood Car Centre

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Advice

The days are cold and damp, the nights are even chillier and winter is well and truly here. It’s time to turn up the central heating and prepare yourself for the weather to get worse.

We all rely on our cars more than ever in the winter – let’s face it no one wants to brave the bad weather on foot – but the harsh weather can take its toll on your car, and driving in adverse winter weather conditions can be dangerous. It’s really important to do everything you can to make sure you’re safe on the roads and your car is well prepared for the bad weather that’s no doubt ahead of us.

Make sure that you and your car are set for all weathers with our top Winter Driving tips:

Be Prepared

Hopefully, if you follow all our advice, you won’t break down this winter, but cars can and do break down and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about it. So be prepared!

Breaking down is no fun at the best of times but in winter it can be quite hazardous, especially if you’re travelling with young children or someone elderly. So keep some supplies in the boot, just in case. Make sure you’ve got a working torch in case you break down in an area that isn’t well lit and have some blankets in there, and coats for all the family. A bottle of water and some snacks such as cereal bars can really help if you’re stuck waiting for rescue.

It might sound silly, but make sure you know who your breakdown cover is with. Many of us change regularly to get a better deal, and it’s easy to forget to update contact numbers in your phone. You don’t want to be ringing round half a dozen companies while stood at the side of the road in the freezing winter weather! Before you set out, always make sure your phone is fully charged too.

Checking Your Tyres Can Save Lives… and Fuel

It takes seconds to check your tyre tread depth and it’s so important. If you don’t have sufficient tread, your car is far more likely to skid on snow and ice, and you’ll find it harder to stop. The easiest way to check your tread depth is to buy a tread checker gadget. They’re very inexpensive and they’ll give you an accurate indication of tyre suitability. It’s also important to check in a few different places around the tyre as they don’t wear equally all over.

If you live in an area that isn’t well-gritted in winter, you should change over to winter tyres which will really help with grip in the snow and ice. In fact road safety agencies such as the AA and the RAC recommend that winter tyres are used, no matter where you live, as soon as temperatures start to fall below 7C.

Remember that over-worn tyres can also lower your car’s mpg, as it will need more power to keep on track – meaning higher fuel costs!

Keep Topped Up!

Visibility can be bad in winter with dirty water spraying up at your windscreen which can quickly make it hard to see. Running out of screen wash when you’re out on the roads in winter can be a huge problem so make sure it doesn’t happen to you by keeping screen wash levels topped up.

If you’re used to diluting your screen wash, don’t do this in winter as it can freeze up. Get a good quality screen wash and don’t scrimp on it!

Make Sure Things Are Ticking Over

For some of us, we have no choice but to go out in the car, even when the weather is bad. We need to get to work, or take the kids to school, but if you don’t need to use the car, if you feel it’s safer to get about on foot in winter, then that’s great! However, do remember to start your car, even if you don’t actually go anywhere.

Leaving your car unused for any length of time can be detrimental. The battery can go flat and the brakes can seize up, so run for a short time every now and then on your driveway – but never leave it unattended.

Don’t Get Flat

You’re bound to need to use the heaters in your car more in winter, but this does put extra strain on the battery. The average battery lasts for around five years, so if yours is coming up to this age or is older than that, it might be wise to replace it sooner rather than later, so it won’t fail you in the winter months.

Have Patience

It’s really frustrating when you need to be somewhere, but your car windscreen is all iced up. However, it’s very dangerous to drive with reduced visibility. Make a point of getting up earlier for work so you’ve got time to allow the ice to thaw properly and the windscreen to be totally clear before you set off. Or use a frost cover at night that should keep your windscreen clear.

Make sure you’ve got de-icer at the ready, and a proper scraper. Don’t be tempted to use a credit card or other implement as it can damage the windscreen. It’s also not wise to use your wipers to try and scrape off the ice as this can cause damage to the wiper blades.

Keep It Clear

When your car is covered with snow, you should also spend time clearing your roof as well as your windows. This prevents the problem of a pile of snow falling forward onto the bonnet of the car, obstructing your view of the road. Or, flying off backwards, causing problems for the driver behind you.

Did you know, you can actually be fined for driving without clearing the snow from your car?

Remember the Anti-Freeze

Before the worst of the winter weather sets in, make sure your radiator has sufficient anti-freeze in it. This will stop the radiator from freezing up when temperatures drop below zero. A frozen radiator can cause damage to both the radiator itself, and also to the engine which can be very costly to fix.

Book a Winter Health Check for Your Car Today

For peace of mind, book your car in with the professionals at Fleetwood Car Centre for a Winter Health Check. We’ll check your tyres, fluid levels and battery to make sure your car is fit for winter. Don’t wait until the freeze really sets in – simply get in touch online or give Neil in our Aftersales Department a call on 01253 770073.

 

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