Winter Ready Your Car
We are being advised to prepare for the cold now.
That time of year is here now, don’t put it off any longer. There is a chill in the air and road conditions are changing . I saw the gritters out for the first time this year, in my mind that’s normally the last chance call to get your car winter ready.
I remember the year ‘The Beast from the East’ caught us all by surprise only too well. The amount of people caught without any winter preparation done, that could of made a difference to their situation, was alarming. We could not cope with the volume of calls from distressed motorists, we were overwhelmed.
This time I hope we can all prepare a bit better, just like they do in the east where severe weather is the norm. We never know what the Irish weather will throw up these days. I put together a list of essential tips and recommendations that make a difference no matter what the winter brings! As usual if you have any queries just phone me and I’ll see if I can help.
Happy and safe Motoring, Martin. 01-4571963
Any vehicle whether it is a van, car or a four wheel drive, preparation for winter I think we all know is a no-brainer. If you have not already done this, then now is the time, for peace of mind and for you and your family’s safety.
No1 Tyres: Good tyres in good condition is always my number one safety tip.
Check for the correct tyre pressure ( manufacturer’s specs are usually on a label inside the door-well). You also need to check the overall condition, especially the side walls for damage, wear and the tread depth (there are depth indicators between the treads). Depths of 3mm or more for winter are recommended while the legal minimum allowed is 1.6mm.If you do a lot of driving, you may want to consider All-Weather tyres, especially good on rear wheel drive cars like BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus etc as these cars struggle more in snowy and icy conditions.
No 2 Windscreen and Wipers:
Ice and frost on your windshield can lead to excess strain and damage on your wipers. Check your wipers and make sure they are in good condition – be on the lookout for any blemishes, cracks or splits in the rubber. If there is any noticeable damage replace the wiper – a new set can start at €20 and replacing them takes 10mins or so on most makes.
Take a close look at your windscreen too. Make sure there are no chips in the glass: icy winter conditions can cause these small imperfections to deteriorate quickly and result in the need for a full windscreen replacement. A chip repair takes less than half an hour and is a fraction of the cost of a windscreen replacement.
Add a couple of cans or bottles of windscreen de-icer to your Winter Kit, keep one in the car and one in the home or place of work just in case, cars doors can freeze shut and sometimes need a bit of persuasion so having a can outside the car is a good idea.
No 3 Fluids:
No 3 on the list and extremely important are fluid levels. Be sure to check your oil, brake fluid and power steering fluid levels. Maybe even add a little bit of anti-freeze to your engine coolant. Inspect the entire engine compartment and look for any frayed, damaged or leaking pipes and hoses, . Cold weather puts more stress on all of your car’s systems, so it’s worth checking for any visible defects before the winter really sets in.
No 4 Battery:
Although no 4 on the list Battery failure is the number 1 cause of breakdown during the winter months. Cold temperatures reduce the capacity of all batteries and if it is more than three years old it is worthwhile having your battery’s health checked before the winter sets in. If needs be, replacing your battery can stand to save you a lot of time and stress. A set of jumper cables is a good emergency tool to have in your Winter Kit.
No 5 Air Conditioning and Heating:
The air conditioning system is essential to keeping your car winter ready. In the bitter cold months of Winter your fan and air-con system are used and relied on more than ever.
A fully functional air conditioner makes the daily winter chore of de-misting a whole lot easier. Make sure the system is working to it’s optimum, and consider getting a re-gas done if the process appears too slow to de-mist. If you don’t have air conditioning, then be sure to check that your fan and heater are working properly and not giving off any strange smells .
No 6 Winter Car Kit
If all the above have been checked and done, then you are good to go, however, with the addition of an in-car emergency kit you will be fully prepared for any Winter emergency. With a visit to your local motor factors you will be able to put together the kit below without too much effort.
The Winter Car Kit ( recommended if you travel in remote areas)
or the mini version (for urban areas)
- A High Vis Vest
- Spare fuses and bulbs
- Your De-icing spray and glass scraper
- Just in case, keep some appropriate clothing and footwear on hand should you have to leave the car
- A torch with batteries
- An up to date Map or fully charged GPS
- A Hazard Warning triangle ( should already be in most cars)
- A Tow rope
- A Shovel
- A First Aid Kit
- A set of Jump Leads *
- Some non perishable foodstuffs and drink
- This kit is a must, especially for people who travel on remote or country roads after dark and very early mornings when local help can be difficult to get. Being stranded at these times in remote places can be very dangerous.
As ever, preparation is key and now is the time to do it!. So don’t procrastinate, get your emergency kit fully stocked and test your tyre pressures, windscreen and everything else because nothing is more sure than ‘Winter is Coming’.
I hope this guide was helpful and thank you for taking the time to read it. Check in with the Clondalkin Auto Clinic blog again soon, for more guides, explainers, tips and hints just like this one. Safe driving!
OFFER NO 1: If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, we can do it all for you at a cost of €75.
OFFER NO 2: You can have it done free of charge when you book a car service.
It could make a great Christmas gift for someone you care about.
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