As the UK braces to be hit by cold weather and with lockdown 3.0 limiting travel, our cars are likely to be sat unused outside our homes more than usual this winter.
With temperatures starting to drop, Cazoo, the UK’s leading online car retailer has compiled its top tips to keep your car healthy this winter.
David McNamara, Service Director at Cazoo said: “With temperatures set to drop across the UK, and with our cars likely to be sat stationary on driveways more than usual this winter, it’s important to keep on top of maintenance so that you don’t have any problems with your vehicle. Many issues caused by the cold can be prevented by carrying out regular maintenance and service checks that will keep your car and your wallet healthy until spring.
“One of the easiest ways to keep your car in good working order during the colder months is to keep it regularly serviced. If your car is due a service, don’t delay getting this booked in. Car service and MOT centres can still operate during lockdown, and all Cazoo Service Centres remain open for business for essential servicing, MOTs and repairs.
“There are plenty of simple checks that you can do yourself, such as making sure your battery is well charged, keeping your lights and number plates clean and keeping engine coolant, oil and washer fluid levels topped up to ensure your car is in good shape when you do get out on the road.”
- Check your battery
A drop-in temperature and the combination of using your car’s heaters and lights more frequently can put your battery under increased strain. It’s worth getting the condition of your battery checked and having this replaced if necessary. It’s also recommended you invest in a portable jump-start pack as a precaution, this will reduce the risk of you being stranded if you do have a drained battery.
Due to lockdown restrictions and poor weather its likely cars are going to be left unused for long periods of time this winter. A drive of at least 30 minutes should boost the charge of your battery however if this isn’t possible due to current restrictions, purchasing a trickle-charger will help you maintain the condition of your car’s battery.
2. Get your car serviced
Cold weather can be tough on cars, but a lot of potential problems can be avoided with regular maintenance and servicing. If you know your car is due a service during the winter months, it’s recommended to get this booked in and done before the cold weather comes.
It’s also a good idea to ensure your car’s MOT is up to date. The checks carried out during an MOT are designed to make sure your car is safe and roadworthy, which is even more important once cold weather sets in.
3. Top up your fluids
Keeping your engine coolant, oil and washer fluid levels topped up is a basic car maintenance task that should be undertaken all year round. However, keeping an eye on your engine coolant during the winter months should be a top priority. Your engine needs coolant for the radiator system, and oil for the engine in order to run properly. If these levels are low, your car should display a warning light to let you know.
But you shouldn’t allow your car to get to this point because damage can be done to the engine and cooling system before the fluid levels drop to the point where a warning light will come on. Instead, get into the habit of checking your car’s oil and coolant levels on a regular basis without waiting to see that warning light.
4. Check your brakes
It’s always important when driving to be able to stop efficiently, but never more so than during winter when roads are more likely to be slippery. While your car isn’t being driven as frequently it’s a good idea to make sure your brakes are in good working condition. This can be done with a visual inspection. If you look behind your wheels you should be able to see the brake discs. If you can see any scoring or signs of corrosion, then you might need to have your brake discs or pads replaced.
If you are unsure it’s always best to get a second opinion from a professional mechanic.
5. Check your tyre tread
Worn tyres can have a huge impact on the handling, braking and overall safety of your car. Make the most of your car not being driven much this winter to check your tyre tread. We suggest having a minimum tread depth of 2.5mm across at least 80% of the tyre’s width, which is well above the legal minimum limit of 1.6mm. More tread will give your tyres more grip on icy or wet roads.
The pressure of your tyres is just as important as tyre tread. Set aside time regularly to check they have the correct pressure. If you are unsure what the correct pressure is for your vehicle your handbook will tell you what they need to be adjusted to.
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