Keeping Your Car Healthy This Winter
Every year winter seems to creep up on us. Without doubt, the disbelief of how dark it gets so early happens every time. We always forget how cold it was the year before and are met with shivers and groans as we head to our cars most mornings.
It’s also the time of year where our normal routine seems to take a back seat: our healthy diets, a proper night’s sleep, life admin and looking after our cars. However, now is the time to give your car some extra TLC to ensure it lasts when the poor weather hits.
At Protyre, we offer our customers a number of garage services to enure your vehicle is sufficiently prepared for the Winter weather:
Vehicle Safety Checks
Protyre is committed to providing valuable help and advice to all of our customers. During the winter months it is paramount that your vehicle is in the very best condition to deal with the extreme weather conditions.
Make use of this fantastic service by clicking the button below:
Free Seasonal Safety Check
Vehicle Tyre Checks
Another service Protyre garages offer is a Free Tyre Check. The legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, make sure your tyres are up to scratch by booking in for a Free Tyre Check at your local Protyre garage. Click the button below to book today:
Free Tyre Check
Protyre offer a 3 tiered service scheme meaning getting your vehicel serviced is as easy as 1,2,3. Choose from our Gold, Silver or Bronze service packages. Click the button below for more information:
Back to Basics
The most important thing to consider is the general state of repair. Take a look around your car: is there anything that looks like it needs some attention?
You should also get rid of any loose snow before beginning your journey; it can be tempting to just clear your windscreen before you drive but falling snow can cause obstruction to other cars on the road, so it’s important to think about the effect your car can have on the roads.
If there’s no snow, your car is likely to have a build-up of dirt and grime. You’ll find that your head lights need a wipe down so they can shine brightly: hazy lights can cause low visibility.
While you’re wiping your lights down, consider wiping your mirrors which will also improve visibility.
You should do these checks before every journey, particularly long journeys.
In addition to ensuring your screen is clear from grime and obstruction, you’ll need to keep your windscreen (front and rear) washer topped up. The air has a lot of dirt in it in winter so the last thing you’ll want is to be driving along, have reduced visibility and try to use your wipers, only to smudge the dirt that’s there, rather than clean it off. It’s dangerous for you and for other cars on the road.
You’ll also need to check that your wipers are working as efficiently as they should be. Check the blade for split or worn-down rubber. If you see any signs of the blades being worn out, you need to change them. Generally speaking, wipers get used more in the winter so there’s a higher chance they’ll get worn out more quickly.
As with most things to do with your car, this is important all year, but particularly so in winter as British roads are slippery at best.
You must have the right amount of tread on your tyres so they can grip the road properly when you’re driving. A low tread may affect your braking distance and on wet, slippery or icy roads, you need every inch of your braking power.
The legal minimum is 1.6mm, though it’s better to be safe than sorry; we’d recommend a tread of no less than 3mm.
You must regularly inspect the pressure of your tyres as over or under inflation could affect the vehicle’s handling and performance: something that’s particularly important with poor conditions on the road.
Keeping your tyres at the correct pressure, which you can find in your car’s handbook, will help towards the efficiency of your vehicle.
Don’t forget to check your tyres before any long trip. Do this when the tyres are cold as heated tyres (checked just after use) can affect the tyre pressure.
If you’ve got a spare tyre, make sure you check the pressure of that too as the last thing you need is a useless spare tyre if you need to make the swap.
Our experts have pulled together a big checklist of things that you need to keep your car in good condition and stay safe on the roads.
Oil is imperative for your car to run, yet it’s often something that’s overlooked. Old oil causes the engine to run less efficiently and low levels of oil can cause the car to overheat.
Another vital part of your car, the radiator, is responsible for keeping the car cool when driving, so it doesn’t overheat.
There’ll be a dial on your dashboard that shows where the levels are, so you can keep on top of it.
Though it’s there to act as a coolant, you won’t want your car to get too cold or the radiator could freeze in the winter. To prevent this, add some antifreeze to reduce the potential damage.
Regular checks will help to avoid breakdowns and having to fix expensive parts.
There are many factors that affect the performance of your car’s battery, varying from lack of use, extreme temperatures or the make and model of your battery. A good battery should last a few years. However, like with most things, they can break without much reason behind it.
When you start your engine, let it run for a few moments before driving, giving your car chance to wake up properly. Don’t rev the engine if your car isn’t starting as this can flood the engine.
Inside Your Car
This is not the be all and end all but you should look to keep the interior of your car in good condition too. Only carry essentials. This will help the efficiency of your car but also help with comfort if you’re stuck anywhere.
Essentials to Keep in Your Car through Winter
- A spare pair of gloves
- A blanket
- A shovel (if you live in an area with lots of snow)
- An ice scraper
- A torch
- Extra screenwash
- Bottles of water
- Allow more time for journeys
- Plan your route
- Keep a full tank of fuel
- Keep an in-car phone charger or a spare mobile phone in the glove compartment
- If you’re setting off on a long drive, keep a flask of hot drink in the car
Finally, think of the mantra ‘use it or lose it’. It can be tempting to stay indoors and avoid going out in the car, but much like your central heating at home, if you don’t use it, the likelihood of the pipes freezing increases and that can lead to broken pipes and a hefty cost that no one wants or needs. So think about your car. If it’s being left out in the cold for long periods of time, it could potentially do some damage.
If you’re going away and leaving your car behind, consider covering it to give it a little bit of insulation.
Stay Safe on the Roads
Above all, stay safe on the roads. Slow down your driving and remain alert in poor conditions.
For more information on the performance of your car, check out our help and advice hub, jam-packed with everything you need to know about cars, from changing tyres to jump starting your vehicle.
If you're looking for new tyres, don't forget to check out our same day fitting service to ensure your tyres are up to scratch this winter.
Why not read some of our other top tips and advice for keep your vehicle running:
Dean is a Regional Director for Protyre who is also responsible for the running of our Protech Academy. The Protech Academy is a centre of excellence where the Protyre team learn the latest mechanical knowledge and skills, gain qualifications and develop their expertise to share with our customers at their local garage. The Academy is also designed to help us stay ahead of the ever changing automotive market by ensuring we have the best skills available to deal with advanced driver assist systems, hybrid/ electric vehicles in addition to all the new technology finding their way into our vehicles. During Dean's career he has worked for some of the biggest names in the fast-fit and mechanical aftermarket and as the man responsible for developing our people and their mechanical skills he is ideally suited to help provide advice in the latest in car technology and ongoing maintenance of your vehicle no matter how new or old it maybe.