Our top winter car checks

Winter presents a number of issues to motorists, but you can guard against problems with your car by making sure it’s ready for the colder months. Here are some tips to help prepare your car for the colder months and keep you safe on the roads.

Clean your car

Salt and dirt on the road can cause problems for your car’s bodywork. It’s really important to clean your car regularly over winter but you can protect your car’s paintwork by waxing it. It’s also good practice to hose your car down after a long journey to remove any salt still clinging to the paint.

Check your tyres

With stopping distances greatly increased on wet and icy roads, your tyres need to be in tip-top shape.

Start off by checking your tread depth. The easiest way to do this is with a 20p. Simply place the coin into the tread of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p is obscured, then your tread is above the legal limit.

For those of you who do a lot of driving during winter, you may be better off with a set of winter tyres. These have a different tread pattern and are made from a special rubber compound that can handle wintry conditions much more effectively than a summer tyre.

Get your car serviced

A service on your car will ensure that everything is running well throughout the winter.

Make sure your bulbs are working

Now that the clocks have changed, it’s likely you’ll be driving in darkness much more often. Check your headlights to make sure a bulb hasn’t gone during summer but also check around the rest of your car for dead brake, indicator and fog lamp bulbs.

Get any faults checked out

Car problems can be exacerbated by cold weather so make sure to get any faults or smaller issues checked out sooner rather than later. A diagnostic inspection will ensure everything is running smoothly.

Fill any windscreen chips

A crack in your windscreen could obscure your vision and cause your car to fail its MOT. Make sure this doesn’t happen by getting any windscreen chips filled – depending on your insurance, this is usually free.

Check windscreen fluid

The most important reservoir you need to keep an eye on is your windscreen washer fluid, as you’ll be using this a lot during winter.

Add anti-freeze and other fluids

If you know what’s what under the bonnet of your car you can add anti-freeze and other fluids as necessary but if in doubt, ask a professional.

Stock your car with necessities

It’s good to keep a winter emergency kit in your car with snacks, blankets and warm clothing, just in case you find yourself stranded. You should also make sure you have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, hi-vis jacket and warning triangle in your car too.

Check your battery

If you’ve been struggling with battery problems during the warmer months, this is definitely something you should get sorted for winter. At the very least, you should carry jump cables with you and understand how to use them safely.

If you’re concerned about how prepared your car is for winter, take a look at our service list to see how Fixter might be able to help.