7 Ways to look after your car in this freezing weather
We probably know better than to trust the judgement of our weather ‘experts’ but if they are to be believed, we are in the midst of one of the most miserable Januarys on record.
You know only too well to wrap up, throw on a scarf and a hat to get you from A-to-B without too much hassle. But what about your poor old car? It needs the equivalent of wrapping up too in this awful weather. But have no fear about that either, we’re here to help. Here are 7 key ways to ensure your car stays healthy during the wintry weather.
1) Check your oil
This should go without saying, but I bet you haven’t even checked it since the weather got bad, have you? The chances are your car will be more sluggish in this weather and a change of oil will give the motor that extra pep it needs in its step over the winter. Your car’s engine will barely run efficiently if the oil is sludgy too from having not been changed in a while and that will particularly hurt your car in the winter. Drain the oil if necessary and replace it, but at the very least, top up your oil levels tomorrow. That’s an order.
2) Check tyres
If the weather ‘experts’ are to be believed we will be facing a January with the temperature constantly on one digit. This would mean the roads will be slippier than your average days out. It’s important you have, at the very least, the minimum amount of thread required. In fact, even if you just about have enough it may be well worth changing your tyres now. I’m not saying you need to go out and buy a set of winter tyres, but do update the version of tyre you currently drive on. Deviation is probable in slippy weather and if you slide even slightly off course, then it’s the tyre thread that will keep you on course.
3) Refill the radiator
Yep, we bet you haven’t checked this either, right? It’s vital to keep your radiator topped up all year round to be truthful, but certainly moreso in the winter months. There’s a chance the liquid in your cooling system has frozen over somewhat. When you are refilling it, ensure you use anti-freeze. If the radiator isn’t working fully in your motor then you are in trouble in the cold. As you know, the engine is everything to a motor, but the radiator is everything to the engine when it’s freezing outside. Add this to your list for tomorrow. Won’t take long.
4) Use it
I bet this isn’t as obvious as it sounds. Some may not have realised a car needs to run in the cold. There is probably a preference from some to take public transport in bad weather due to traffic constraints but the truth is, your car can really feel the effects of not being run. Two massive issues that a consistently cold car can endure are seized breaks and a flat battery. And these can occur in a vehicle left without running in cold weather within one week. So make sure your car is being driven.
5) Park up wisely
This may be something that isn’t too obvious. To ensure your car starts each morning, it is important that it isn’t exposed to too much cold and dampness overnight. As mentioned above, the brakes can seize in freezing temperatures so bear in mind dry spaces when you’re looking to park up if possible. If you don’t have a garage, think about some sheltered spots around the street you live in. Even cars left behind a large hedge can be protected somewhat from the cold. Always take into consideration the ice-scraping that may be required in the mornings, so try to leave your car where it is not exposed to the maximum amount of the weather.
6) Top up washer fluid
Please don’t tell me you haven’t done this during the winter? Well, it needs topping up right now anyway as this weather isn’t letting up any time soon (according to the ‘experts’) and the spray from other cars driving around you in bad – mostly rainy – weather needs to be washed from your windscreen on a very regular basis. Makes sense, right? You’ll probably use your washing fluid up to six times more in the winter than any other months and it looks like we could be squeezing that wiper clicker a lot more over the next weeks. Another to add to tomorrow’s list and it still won’t take you long.
7) Pack an emergency kit
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a little ‘precious’. An emergency kit needs adding to your car anyway. We all should have one. There will be more car breakdowns in the winter months (due to the fact that not many of the above tips are adhered to) and you will also have to wait longer in cold weather for that rescue van to come help you. A blanket (yes I’m serious) and some munchies (definitely a bottle of water) would be a very wise idea to add to an ‘emergency’ kit. A good book is also a really good shout. Don’t be ‘precious’. Before you go out tomorrow to check the oil and the fluid and refill your radiator, pack up a small emergency kit and throw it in the boot.