Winter weather can take a toll on your car, and challenging driving conditions can take you by surprise. With a bit of planning, you can ensure your car is ready for the winter weather conditions. Here are some essential maintenance tips.
Check Your Oil Levels And Pay Attention To Your Fuel Light
Check your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on the dipstick in your car. During the winter, breakdown rescue services often find cars with dangerously low oil levels. Low levels can cause a breakdown or damage to your engine. Check the oil level once the car is fully warmed up. A cold car will seem low on oil. Remember that too much oil can be just as bad as not enough.
Check that you have plenty of fuel in the tank too. Don’t try and get the last few miles if your fuel light turns on. It’s better to refuel, and not end up stranded at the side of the road in the cold.
Top Up Antifreeze
Antifreeze stops the water in the cooling system in the engine from freezing, so keep yours topped up. You also can’t underestimate the importance of an antifreeze flush.
Your coolant should be changed every two to five years, depending on your car, and the type of coolant that it requires.
Keep Your Lights Clean
Cars get very dirty during the winter, partly because of the salt on the roads. This means it is very important to keep your lights clean. If your car doesn’t have headlamp washers, you can just wipe the lights over with a cloth. Dirty lights aren’t as bright, and you need plenty of light to drive in gloomy winter conditions.
Wipe down your number plate too. If you’re driving around with a number plate caked in dirt so it’s unreadable, you could face a fine. Before a long trip, ask someone to stand outside the car and check that all your lights are working, and your number plate is readable.
Test Your Battery
A flat or faulty battery is one of the most common causes of vehicle breakdowns. The risk of the battery failing is greater in weather that is cold, wet, and icy.
You should change your car’s battery every three years if you can, or sooner if you have trouble with it during cold weather.
Watch out for warning signs of battery failure, including the engine turning over more slowly than usual when you start the car. The red battery light in your instrument display may flicker as you’re driving or take longer than normal to go out when you start the engine.
Pay Attention To Dashboard Warning Lights
A lot of people don’t know what the warning lights on their dashboard mean. Before winter closes in, get to know what all of those lights mean. If one appears on your dashboard, get it checked as soon as you can, and get the problem fixed before it can develop into a bigger issue.