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Things to check before every car journey during winter

13th January 2021 Print

Winter-time forces a great deal of wear and tear onto automobiles across the country. The cold temperatures and moisture erode away the metalwork, and the slippery road surfaces make accidents more likely. What’s more, the nights set in earlier, and thus visibility is reduced. To cope with these conditions, you’ll need to make sure that your car is fit for purpose before you head out onto the road. Let’s take a look at some of the things you might watch out for.


Your tyres will play a critical role in ensuring that your car is able to grip the road beneath it. They should be inflated properly, and the tread depth should be well above the legal limit of 1.6mm. You might consider swapping to winter tyres at this time of year, especially if you’re doing a lot of off-road driving. You can save a considerable amount by buying your car tyres online and fitting them yourself or taking them to a fitting centre.


You don’t want to get stranded out there with no fuel in the tank. Keep a spare can in the boot for emergency situations, and make sure that you don’t allow the tank to dip into the red. You may regret it!


Oil is what keeps your engine lubricated, minimising friction while distributing heat away from where it might otherwise accumulate. Look for a slightly thinner oil, with lower viscosity – since the weather’s colder, it won’t have as much heat there to get it nicely spread. Look for the ‘W’, too, which denotes that the oil is suitable for winter-time.


During winter, you’ll be using your wipers a lot. It’s vital that you have enough fluid to get the view clear. You might want to use a slightly higher proportion of concentrate, in order to minimise the chance of the stuff freezing. Certain brands will protect you all the way down to -65°C, so you can go for 1:3 mix with water to get protection down to -9°C.

Emergency Kit

If there’s the remotest possibility that you’ll end up stranded out there in the cold, then it’s a possibility worth preparing for. Pack an emergency kit, and leave it beneath the driver’s seat. It should include a few blankets, a torch, some jumper cables and some phone chargers. Don’t bother with battery packs; they’ll tend to drain over time, and you want this kit to be ready to go without you having to think about it. Don’t forget the first-aid kit, either.