When the clocks go back and the nights start to get longer, it signals that the temperature is going to start to drop. This means that it's time to dig the big winter coat out of the cupboard with the essential hat, scarf and gloves. You wouldn't dress the same in winter as you do in summer, and the same thought process should be applied to your car. Obviously we don't mean that you dress your car up, but it needs to be prepared for icy cold mornings and slippery road surfaces rather than scorching summer days and roads in perfect condition. To help your car perform as well as it can and to keep you safe on the road, you can give it a winter health check. Here are four excellent reasons to book one today.
As its name suggest, antifreeze is a fluid that stops the water in your engine's cooling system from freezing. You should regularly check your coolant level when you check the oil level of your car. If necessary, top up your coolant with a mixture of water and the correct type of antifreeze to ensure cold temperature protection for your engine.
Similar to antifreeze, you should ensure that your car is always topped up to screen wash, especially in winter when you are more likely to be using your windscreen wipers. Without screen wash to clean the windscreen, there is a high risk of your wipers smearing grime across the windscreen decreasing your visibility of the road and other drivers. Screen wash has a lower freezing temperature than water alone so you shouldn't end up with frozen washer jets. Both of these fluids are checked during a winter health check and topped up if necessary.
Batteries are the most common cause of winter breakdowns with cold and damp weather being a deadly battery killer. One that is more than five years old may struggle in this weather and if it's showing signs of struggling to start your car, it's more than likely on its way out.
You should get it checked, which you can do yourself if you have the correct equipment, but it is easier to ask a specialist and it is one of the 25 points covered during a winter health check at Wilsons.
If your battery does need replacing you should do it as a matter of urgency to reduce the risk of any battery-related breakdowns. It's always handy to keep a set of jump leads in the boot of your car, just in case your battery needs a jolt to get started so that you can drive to the nearest garage.
With longer nights it is important that all of your exterior lights are in working order and that all of your tyres have more than 1.6mm of tread, not least because it is a legal requirement.
The easiest way to stay safe on the road is to be as visible as possible. A winter health check will test to make sure that your headlights, brake lights, tail lights, indicators and reverse lights are all in working order and if they're not, then replacement bulbs can be fitted easily while your car is in the workshop.
Checking and cleaning them regularly yourself will help to keep you visible on the road all year round. It is also important to have your fog lights checked with fog more likely to occur during the winter months. It is advisable to carry spare bulbs in case of a failure while you are on the road.
Special winter tyres have been developed for people frequently driving in wintery conditions (like in Canada or Siberia, for example). They offer exceptional grip on the road when the temperature drops below seven degrees and in snow and ice.
However, winter tyres are not cheap, and if you don't want to take the plunge of investing in them, your regular tyres should ideally have 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Even though the legal limit is 1.6mm, having more can dramatically improve your steering and braking. A technician will always ensure that your tyres are road legal, but they could advise whether you should change your tyres if you bring your car in to have a winter health check. They will also examine your tyre pressure to make sure they are offering optimum performance levels.
What have you got to lose? We are literally giving our time away to make sure that you and your family can stay safe on the road over winter. Normally we would charge £19.99 for a winter health check, so by booking yours in now you could save money and reduce the risk of any breakdowns over the coming months.
You should always be prepared for a breakdown with a Car Survival Kit that includes food and water supplies, a first aid kit and phone charger / spare mobile phone among other things.
As well as the items that you should be carrying on every journey regardless of the weather, throughout winter you should keep essentials such as a blanket or sleeping bag, warm clothing (including coat, hat and scarf) a torch with spare batteries, extra antifreeze, a set of jump leads and a car scraper in the boot as well. Hopefully you won't need it if you book your car in for its free winter health check, but you'll be glad it's there if you do need it.