Bad weather and shorter days make winter the most treacherous time of the year to drive. From frost on the roads to flat batteries, it’s no wonder breakdowns and accidents can double during these months. Keep yourself and other road users safe with these basic car maintenance checks before the worst of the weather sets in.
Cold and damp weather will put a strain on car batteries, weakening them and causing the engine to strain and falter on those frosty mornings. You can take your battery to a garage to get it checked, who will let you know if you need a new one or not. If you have a car battery charger at home, give your battery a few hours with this before the worst of the weather sets in. If your battery is old and already weak, it’s a good idea to get a new one for the winter - you don’t want to get stranded with a flat battery in the freezing cold!
As well as bringing more rain, the winter months also mean dirtier and grimier roads, with a mix of mud and grit coating the tarmac. This will get thrown up onto your windscreen by other cars, so it’s really important to make sure your wiper blades are working, as this can really limit your visibility. Not to mention the low winter sun, which can cause an unpleasant glare and show up every spec of dirt on your windscreen. Keep your washer fluid topped up and buy more than you need so you can top up easily.
With the rain, mud and ice, it’s more important than ever to make sure your tyres have good tread and are fully inflated. They are the only thing between you and the road, and bad weather conditions can really reduce their performance. Ensure you have plenty of tread, and check the air pressure regularly. The last thing you want is to be sliding across the road.
Now the days are darker, you’ll be using your lights more often. Regularly check that they are working and haven’t burnt out, especially your rear lights and brake lights which won’t be so obvious to you. It's a good idea to keep an emergency bulb kit in the boot just in case. Your lights will also get dim with a buildup of dirt and grime from the roads, so wipe these clean to keep your lights bright and clear.
No one wants to be stuck in a snowstorm or a closed motorway in the dark and cold, but unfortunately, it happens to hundreds of drivers every winter. Make sure you’re prepared for the worst by keeping a small emergency kit in your boot. Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be eternally grateful you had it! Some essentials include:
Check out our collection of winter essentials for more seasonal car accessories.