Winter is here and that means colder weather and using your vehicle more (because who wants to walk anywhere when it’s less than 10 degrees outside?). As your car will be used more it’s important to make sure everything is in good running order. The last thing you need is a winter breakdown somewhere without the right equipment or when it could be avoided altogether! That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you check that your vehicle is ready for winter.
Now, if you know very minimal information about how your car actually works this is for you. We’re going to tell you about some of the most important things to look out for in the winter. (If you’re still completely unsure, come and visit your local garage!) One you should check is the engine oil. To do this make sure you’re parked on level ground and then open up your bonnet. Next, you should remove your dipstick and clean any excess oil on it before establishing where the maximum and minimum markings are on it. After this, you should pop the dipstick in and out to see how much oil is left in the vehicle. If it’s running low, we recommend refilling it immediately.
Another important thing to check is brake fluid which is usually in a container. If you shake the container gently you’ll see how much fluid is left – it should sit comfortably between the minimum and maximum markings. And if it’s running low you should refill it before you drive. Other things you should check include your antifreeze and screen wash levels as they’ll be used more in the winter months. You should check all of these things once a week or so as they’re all vital to keep your car working properly.
Something that’s often forgotten about is your car lights. They’re one of the most important parts of your vehicle (at all times). When parked securely and off the road you should turn all the lights on your car on including the headlights, hazard lights, reverse lights and brake lights and then walk around the car to make sure they’re all working.
One thing you should keep a look out for is any cracks or chips that appear on your windscreen. These often appear out of nowhere. Spotting this early could save time, hassle and money as you can get it repaired early. It will also prevent unnecessary damage. (Fun fact: Some car insurance companies may even fix this for free!) Another thing we highly recommend is having a basic set of tools stowed away in the boot of your car. That way if you’re in an emergency breakdown you can get yourself home! You should refresh your mind with the basics of how to do little things such as changing a tyre!
We also recommend having a few things in your vehicle at all times. These include blankets, shovel, de-icer, ice scraper, a torch (with batteries) and snacks!
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