The vast majority of us are perhaps under the impression that the modern day car requires very little in the way of maintenance and nothing special as winter approaches. There is no doubt that the technology associated with the modern day car has improved dramatically over the years but winter is still a very challenging time.
It goes without saying that slippery roads and sub-zero temperatures significantly increase the potential for accidents. However, there are a number of practical things you can do yourself to protect your car during the winter period.
Keep Your Car Clean
Keeping the exterior of your car clean during winter can be extremely challenging but there is one particular reason why this is important – road salt. Road salt has been used in the UK for many decades now and has no doubt saved countless lives by offering extra grip on previously icy roads. However, road salt can be extremely dangerous to any vehicle.
Salt deposits by definition retain significant amounts of moisture which can have a serious impact upon metal corrosion. You only need to drive down a road which has been covered with road salt to see the amount of spray, debris and ultimately road salt which can often cover your vehicle. If road salt is allowed to build up on the outside of your vehicle, with perhaps the underside more at risk, the excess moisture it brings with it can speed up the corrosion process. So, even during the wintertime it is vital that you keep your car as clean as possible and ensure that every nook and cranny is free of as much road salt as possible.
Check Your Tyres
We are all advised to check our tyres on a regular basis but how many of us actually do? We may ensure they are checked when an MOT is due or our vehicle is serviced but what about in between? Are you one of the few who actually checks the tread on your tyres, and tyre pressures? Do you leave a “borderline” tyre until it is potentially dangerous?
In the wintertime your tyres will likely take a significantly greater battering from the elements and it is vital that you check them on a regular basis. Imagine if you were in an accident on a slippery road and one of your tyres was found to be illegal. The potential danger to life let alone the potential financial/criminal implications do not bear thinking about.
Many people use tyre dressing paint which can help in adding an additional barrier between your tyres and the elements. Even though this action may seem fairly innocuous, anything which protects your tyres and improves the overall safety of your vehicle should not be underestimated.
Maintaining Your Battery Charge
If your battery fails then quite simply your vehicle will come to a standstill and if it is winter and you are in the middle of nowhere there could be potentially serious implications.
As the winter period approaches many experts recommend checking your battery on a regular basis to ensure that the connection points are free of corrosion and as much power as possible is getting through. While many of us may not have considered this, the winter climate can be brutal to your car battery and potentially drain the last drop of power from a weak battery.
One product now very popular among motorists is the subtle mobile battery charger which is available for a relatively modest cost. Can you imagine being stuck in the middle of nowhere in the cold freezing winter and your battery decides to call it a day?
These mobile battery chargers are designed in such a way as to give enough power to start your vehicle and then the automatic battery recharging system will kick in. You should give serious consideration to acquiring one of these battery chargers and leaving it in your boot so it is there if ever needed. Now, this is a good idea for a Christmas present?
Keep A Clear Head With A Clear Windscreen
As the morning frosts get harsher it takes longer and longer to warm your vehicle and clean your windscreen. We’ve all been there, trying to cut corners, driving when the windscreen is not necessarily clear enough even though we know this can be extremely dangerous. If you are driving early in the morning and there is significant frost on your window then give yourself a few extra moments to clear this. The easiest way is to use a scraper to take off the worst of the ice and then perhaps use your in-car heater to clear the windscreen.
Even though there have been significant improvements in windscreen glass technology over the years it is still very dangerous to use extremely hot water to clear a frosted windscreen. You may not see the implications of this immediately but over time it can damage and weaken your windscreen and make it more prone to cracking. If you have to use water then use lukewarm water to take away the worst of the frost and then use the in-car heater and scraper. If you were ever in an accident, and it was proven that your windscreen was not clear enough to drive, there could be serious consequences.
It is advisable to add antifreeze to your vehicle radiator and your windscreen water reservoir to protect your vehicle and keep your windscreen as clean as possible.
The vast majority of us automatically assume that the modern day car is equipped to handle all types of climate. In the main this is true, but extreme temperatures during winter can have a material impact upon your battery, windscreen, tyres and road salt can also increase metal corrosion. There are many simple actions you can take as we have covered above to give your vehicle as much protection as possible during the harsh winter temperatures. This could literally be the difference between a safe journey and an accident.
It is also worth noting that if you were involved in a car accident and your vehicle was deemed “non-roadworthy” due to anything from a frosted windscreen to bald tyres, the legal implications could be wide-ranging.