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How to complete a winter check on your car

Georgia Petrie

Written by

Georgia Petrie

car tyre in snow
  • Here are the essential things you should check on your car pre-winter
  • Make sure you stay mobile this winter
  • Why checking your tyres is crucial

Battery

The battery is the first thing that tends to go wrong when it gets colder, so let’s start there. Car batteries rarely last longer than five years, but if yours is older - you should think about changing it. Even if it seems relatively healthy, a bad battery can cause other electrical parts to overcompensate - which could result in a bigger bill in the long run.

The cold affects batteries anyway, but thanks to lights, heating and wipers - car batteries tend to be worked much harder in winter. If you don’t drive your car much, the battery is even more likely to fail when it gets cold due to low charge from not being used.

We advise using your car at least once a week. If you don't use your car often, give it a regular overnight trickle charge. If the car doesn’t start right away, make sure the electricals are off (radio, lights, heating etc). If the car takes a few attempts to start, drive it without using the radio or heating until the car has been driven for 20 minutes. Otherwise, the potentially drained battery will be used to heat up the car at the expense of keeping the car going.

Antifreeze

You need a mixture of antifreeze and water for the winter, the exact mix will be on the back of the bottle which you can buy at a car workshop or at your local petrol station. The split is often 50/50. Once you’ve got your mixture ready, pop open the hood of your car and pour it into the windscreen washer cap which will usually have a picture of a windscreen on it to help you out. If you can't spot it, check your car's user manual.

Visibility - inside and out

Clean your windscreen of dirt, debris and ice - inside and out. If it gets steamy, make sure you use cold air on the windscreen before warm air - this demists the screen faster and reduces condensation.

Clear snow from the roof so it doesn’t fall onto the windscreen and block your view and replace worn or damaged wiper blades. To help with your windscreen, add antifreeze to your screenwash in the winer to reduce the chance of it freezing.

Make sure all the lights are working and, if you have a reversing camera, also make sure this is dirt-free so you can see clearly. Keep your reg plates clean to avoid fines and make sure the light above the rear licence plate is working, too.

Tyres

Tyres are one of the most important parts of your car and truthfully, we tend to take them for granted! Make sure your tyres are fully inflated to the correct pressure (the details will be on the driver’s door pillar and/or in the car’s handbook). Consider using winter or all-season tyres on your car to give you the best driving experience all year round. These are made from a special rubber that gives better grip in cold, wet conditions.


See also: 

Best cars that are good in snow

Best rated SUVs on heycar

Best cars that are AWD