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Winter can be a treacherous time for driving your car, the weather dishes out a beating to our pride and joy. As well as the freezing cold conditions we have to deal with whilst driving, we also need to look after our vehicles when they are unattended. This article discusses ways in which we can ensure that our car is looked after until the warm weather finally breaks out.

Winter Service

The best way to get your car in shipshape condition for the gloomy onset of winter is by putting it through a thorough winter service. You can do this yourself if you are comfortable enough with basic mechanical tasks, and it will save you enough for a few tanks of gas:

  • Change the oil and the oil filter.
  • Drain the coolant system.
  • Refill the coolant system with an appropriate anti-freeze coolant – ensure that you apply the correct mixture depending on the weather conditions of your locality.
  • Add some appropriate product to your windscreen washer that prevents freezing. Normal anti-freeze is not suitable for this job as it can damage your paintwork.
  • Check all of your tires and replace if the tread is low.
  • If you live in a particularly snowy area you may wish to swap your normal tires for snow tires.
  • Ensure that your car’s heating system is working correctly.

BOSS Military Spouses Appreciation Day - Free Vehicle Inspection - U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea - 11 May 2012

Battery Issues

 

Your battery will take a hammering in the winter because you will use your heater and headlights more frequently. It can be harder to start your car on an extremely cold day and you don’t really want to be stranded when it is minus twenty outside! If your battery is older than four or five years old, you should replace it before the winter sets in. A younger battery should be okay but you will need to check the levels and keep a charger handy just in case.

 

Safety Tools

 

Jaguar Tool Kit

Since more vehicles tend to break down in the winter months, it makes sense to carry a few precautionary items on your travels. The following is by no means a complete list, but you should strive to add these to your existing toolkit:

  • A Warm blanket – This can be incredibly useful if you should be unfortunate enough to break down, or one of your buddies may have trouble with their car and this will be a welcome sight when you arrive.
  • Jump Leads – Should you or your friends ever suffer from a flat battery, well this will be the only way to bring the stricken car back to life.
  • Spare Battery – This is not essential but if you can spare the cash for a spare one, it will prove its worth one day, or night!
  • De-Icer Spray – Your windscreen can get so frozen that your scraper may not be up to the task of clearing it. A decent de-icer spray will shift any ice in a few seconds, but just ensure that you don’t get any on your paintwork.

 

Breakdown Cover

 

This may not be too cheap, but the cost of having your car towed back from a distant location will cost two or three times as much. Try and get a comprehensive package that includes some home start assistance as well as roadside recovery.

 

Gareth Alter owns a car wash firm. A car lover himself, he knows all about the nitty gritty’s of car maintenance and often advises people on these matters. Besides his professional commitments, he also blogs about a variety of issues.