The onset of autumn is the time when you need to start thinking about winter car care checks. Your car tyres, lights, antifreeze, as well as several other key components, all need to be checked. By doing this will it help minimise or even avoid situations where you have to cope with problems such as cold mornings or icy roads.
1) The condition of your car tyres is particularly important. They are the only contact that your car has with the road. Your car tyres will have to work extra hard when the road is wet or icy, to give maximum traction and control.
Car tyres should have a good tread and as little wear as possible. Think about changing to winter car tyres when conditions demand it.
The alignment of your wheels is another thing you should consider as part of your winter car care checks. Wheels that are out of alignment will create unnecessary wear on your car tyres, which will cause extra steering problems when driving on wet or icy roads.
2) You should regularly check the engine coolant level. Add the correct mixture of anti-freeze before you need it to protect your engine from possible frost damage. Add the proper proportions of anti-freeze to the windscreen washer as well. This allows you to wash your screen even when temperature falls below freezing.
Check the engine oil levels on a weekly basis using the dipstick. It is important to maintain the oil level between the minimum and maximum marks indicated. The best time to check the oil level is when the engine is cold.
3) The pressures of your car tyres are important. Maintaining the recommended pressure improves a car tyre’s performance in difficult driving conditions.
Remember to check the spare tyre’s pressure and tread depth. Make sure that it is a similar condition to the other tyres or is adequate to use for a short period of time, until the damaged tyre can be repaired or replaced.
4) Your car lights are important, especially in winter when there is reduced daylight and much of your driving will require the lights to be used. Check that all bulbs are working properly. It is best to carry spares, as well as the tools to replace them. Have the alignment of your lights checked at a garage to give yourself the maximum vision possible, and to prevent blinding other drivers.
5) Check the condition of your windscreen wipers. Make sure they clean the screen adequately to allow a clear view of the road. If in doubt then replace them; it is not expensive to do.
If you are not comfortable doing the checks yourself, a local car garage will be able help. They will inspect the car to make sure everything is in good working order, ready to endure the adverse weather condition and the darker nights that the winter season brings.
As an extra precaution there are some items that are useful to carry in your boot at all times. A reflective jacket, shovel, tow rope, jump leads, water and extra screen wash will help in most situations. And a warm coat, gloves, boots and some biscuits will certainly be appreciated if your car breaks down in an isolated location.
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