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Is your car ready for winter?

Kwik FIt | Monday 19th November 2018 4:40pm

Brake infographic- slow down

This year’s Road Safety Week is themed around keeping cyclists safe on the road. It is important to consider how to keep the most vulnerable road users safe. This week, Brake are highlighting the importance of safer vehicles and safer road use as part of their campaign this year. Ensuring that your car is functioning effectively is important in order to prevent accidents and to enable you to dive safely. With winter approaching, it is vital to ensure that your car is prepared for the change in temperatures. There are four crucial areas to check to ensure that your car is performing at its best; tyres, brakes, battery and engine. In this blog, we will share what to look out for when preparing your car for winter.

1) Tyres

Your tyres are crucial for keeping your vehicle safe all year round. In winter, it is especially important to ensure that your tyres are in good condition for traction in wet or icy conditions.  Although the legal tread depth is 1.6mm, we recommend maintaining at least 3mm of tread. At 1.6mm, stopping distance is considerably worse in comparison to tyres with at least 3mm of tread. To keep your vehicle and other road users safe, check your tread this winter. The cold weather can also cause a change in tyre pressures. If the TPMS warning light is displayed on your dashboard, you should check the pressure on all your tyres and inflate where necessary.

2) Brakes

To make sure that you are able to stop quickly enough in an emergency, it is crucial for your brakes to be in good condition. If your car is pulling to one side, your brakes feel spongy or your brakes are making a strange noise, there could be issues with your brakes. In this case, you should have your brakes checked to ensure that you are able to stop quickly if there is an emergency.

3) Battery

Battery failure is one of the major reasons for breakdown in the winter. For this reason, it is important to get your battery checked to ensure that it won’t let you down in the colder months. If you are having any issues starting your car, it might be time to get the battery replaced or giving it a jump start. It would be useful to carry some jumper cables in your car so you can jump start it yourself if necessary.

4) Engine

Your engine has to work harder during the winter than at any other points during the year with the increased use of lights and heaters in this season.  For this reason, it is important to make sure that you top up the engine coolant with anti-freeze. Many drivers top up their engine coolant with water throughout the year. This dilutes the concentration of anti-freeze which can cause the engine to over-heat.

5) Lights

Due to limited visibility and shorter days, maintaining your car lights is crucial in the winter. Dirt can build up on your lights which reduces their effectiveness. If you clean your lights regularly, it will greatly improve other driver’s visibility of your vehicle in winter conditions.  It is also a good idea to keep a spare bulb with you at all times in case your light bulbs need to be changed unexpectedly.

Winter driving hazards

One of the major dangers of driving in winter is ‘Black Ice’. This is difficult to see on the roads so it is important to make sure that you are driving slowly enough in case of unexpectedly dangerous conditions. As a result of this, it is also important to keep a safe distance back from the car in front so that you have enough time to stop. This is especially important as visibility can also be an issue in the winter. Due to the unpredictability of winter conditions, avoid using cruise control and driving close to or above the speed limit.

Winter essentials

In the colder weather, it is a good idea to keep some winter essentials in your car in case you need them. De-icer and an ice scraper are always useful to have in case you need them to clear your windscreen or windows. A torch and batteries are also useful all year round but especially important with the shorter days of winter.

Driving tips

Whilst winter conditions can’t be helped, there are a few things you can do to keep everyone as safe as possible on the roads. Prior to setting off on a winter car journey, double check for any potential weather warnings on your route so you can prepare yourself for any treacherous conditions. Ensure that your windshield fluid reservoir is at a high level in case you need to remove snow and ice from your windscreen.

Road Safety Week

This road safety week and beyond, follow these tips in order to keep the road safe for all users. Winter conditions can increase the dangers for motorcyclists and cyclists on the roads. Following the tips above can help to keep everyone safe on the roads. To find out more about Brake and Road Safety Week, take a look here.


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