Winter is a very important time of the year to be on top of your car maintenance! Slippy roads paired with poor visibility can have a detrimental impact on your driving, so making sure your car is as safe as possible is crucial.
Here are some things to look out for when driving this winter:
What is your tyre tread depth?
Worn tyres can increase your chances of skidding and aquaplaning, but not only that, it can also result in fines of up to £10,000, £2,500 per tyre, and 12 penalty points.
You will know from your Driving Test revision that your tyre tread depth must be at least 1.6mm but experts do recommend a depth of 2-3mm.
Check your coolant levels.
Coolant cools down your engine, prevents rust and also stops freezing. It’s always good to have it in your car but it is crucial for sub-zero temperatures. Check your coolant levels regularly and replenish when necessary.
Remember to only do this when the engine is off otherwise you might burn yourself!
Do your lights work and do you know when to use them?
Before making any journey make sure all your lights are working. Legally, all external lights need to be working, including headlights, indicators, and even number plate bulbs.
Use dipped headlights for dusky conditions, when it is dark or if visibility is generally poor.
Use your high or full beams when conditions are bad.
Remember to turn off high or full beams if you see another driver.
Check your wipers.
Rain, ice and muddy water can leave your windscreen dirtier much quicker so it is in your best interest to have working wipers and that your windscreen wash is full. Having faulty wipers or blades is a common reason for an MOT fail.
Experts recommend changing your wiper blades every 12 months.
Monitor engine oil.
To avoid engine damage and the chances of a breakdown, check your engines dipstick regularly and keep the oil topped up. Remember, too little or too much oil can cause engine problems.
Aim to change your oil filter annually and do not ignore the warning signs! If left ignored, your engine could seize up leaving you with a hefty bill to repair or replace!
Keep an eye for leaks too, losing oil too quickly or noticing dark puddles under your car are signs there is a leak, common causes are:
- Damaged oil filter
- Failing filter cap
- Leaking oil pan gasket
- Broken valve cover
- Too much oil.
Your car's correct oil type can be found in the car’s manual.
How are your brakes?
Your brakes will help prevent aquaplaning and skidding during the winter.
Here are some common signs of brake damage:
- Loud or squeaking noises when breaking
- Spongy or soft brakes
- Burning smell
- If your brake lights flash when you aren’t using the brake.
If you notice any of the above happenings, get your brakes tested immediately.
If you don’t have time or feel unsure about making these checks on your own head to your local garage. But this will cost money, if you can, try and do these checks yourself.