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Winter Car Essential Checklist

4th February 2021 Print

As the world slowly heads back in the direction of normality, you may well find yourself out a lot more than you did before. Despite the world situation looking more optimistic, temperatures are not. This can take a detrimental effect on your car. In fact, the number of breakdowns can double during this time of year. Just a few minutes of basic winter car checks can see you through to the summer with a piece of mind that you wont ever be let down by your transportation.


Low temperature and cold weather conditions can have a huge impact on your battery’s ability to run, with the heaters and lights putting further strain on it. Car batteries have, on average depending on usage, a five year life span. If your car is struggling to start up before this life span is up, its advised you get your battery checked at minimum.  A replacement is also advised for extra reassurance. It’s also suggested that you keep a pair of jump leads to help start your car with the assistance of another. However, there is also the option to buy a jump starter pack if there are no other drivers around, which would save the wait for a breakdown service. 


Servicing your car is crucial to keeping your car in good working standards with or without cold temperatures. It does, however, become even more imperative when temperatures begin to drop. Regular servicing and maintenance can prevent many of the problems associated with the cold snaps. An affordable, in depth, regular service can be taken out at Advanced Service Centre, a specialist MOT centre in Grays, Essex.

Most modern car engines have a sealed cooling system so shouldn’t require a top up. The coolant should be a 50/50 ratio of water and antifreeze. Try and aim for this ratio consistently as this could dilate over time.

Prepare for Longer Journeys

Whether you’re now commuting to the office and back or finally seeing friends and family for a delayed festive celebration, always plan ahead. Check the weather, traffic news and safest routes before setting off. This can be done on the AA’s route planner here. Even if you know your route, always use a GPS or Satnav system to stay on top of live traffic alerts.

Check Your Lights

Due to less hours a day being spent in daylight, its important to check your headlights regularly due to their increased usage. Make sure your headlights are wiped clean and there is no damage to them. Beyond the obvious safety concern, a blown headlight is also an MOT failure.

Check Your Windscreen and Wipers

It’s time to give your windscreen a good clean with some strong window cleaner. Besides the obvious increased visibility, it also allows you to have a look for any damage that may need fixing immediately.  Also check your wipers. Run your finger down them to check for any damage, as this will reduce the effectiveness at cleaning your windscreen, which is also an MOT failure. Make sure you top up your screen wash with a product that is effective down to a recommended -15 degrees Celsius. This helps to keep the windscreen free of ice and dirt once again improving your constant visibility. There is also the risk of a frozen windscreen which is another reason to ensure you use a proper anti-freeze screen wash.

Check Your Tyres

Obviously due to bad weather, roads can be significantly icy during the cold spells, making driving conditions more dangerous. The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm. Check your tyre tread depth using a tyre gauge. If you live or drive in an area that’s known to have poor road conditions, you should also look into having winter tyres fitted to prepare you for winter driving, as they provide better grip for the snow and slush.

Make sure you clear your car of snow and de-ice your windows and door mirrors. Keep some antifreeze and windscreen wash handy too.

Carry a Winter Car Breakdown Kit

There is a range of winter car kits available, with the majority including the essential high-vis vest, snow shovel, torch, and thermal blankets. Try and carry a portable phone charger in case you get stuck and need emergency services. Also keep warm, spare clothes in case you are at the mercy of the elements. It is also advised to carry snow grips for your shoes, non-perishable food and drink supplies and an ice scraper.

You’re all set! Following this guide, you should be as prepared as you possibly can be to face the wintery conditions out on the roads!