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Prepare your Car for Winter Driving

Snow, ice and cold temperatures can put additional strain on drivers and vehicles and as a result, it is the time of year that you are most likely to suffer a breakdown. Prepare your vehicle to cope with the challenges that may lie ahead this winter with these tips from PTA Garage Services.


Tyres

Tyres maintain your contact with the road so it is important to check them every 3 weeks to keep yourself safe on the road.

Check your tyre tread depth to ensure that it is over 3mm, as at this point your gripping capabilities and wet weather performance will be drastically affected. If your tyre tread has dropped below this point, it is time to replace your tyres.

It is also necessary to check for any signs of tyre damage. No matter how small, you should always visit a tyre specialist if you notice any cuts, tears, lumps or bulges in your tyres. Damage could indicate that the internal structure of the tyre has changed and this can be highly dangerous.


Lights

As the sun rises later and sets earlier during winter, it is important that you are prepared to drive in the dark. It is vital that you can see clearly and will be spotted easily by other motorists, so you must make sure that all your lights are working.

Simply switch your lights on when your car is parked and check that all are illuminating correctly. Alternatively, you can ask someone else to stand outside your car whilst you check that your headlights, sidelights, brake lights, fog lights and indicators all light up when turned on.


Battery

Cold weather can put a huge strain on your car battery, especially if it is older than 3 years. As we tend to make more use of heating, lights and wipers during winter, your battery will have to cope with extra demand, so take these steps to ensure that it remains effective:


Keep your View Clear

In winter, you need to be able to quickly clear your windscreen so that your view whilst driving is not obstructed. You should ensure that your screenwash is topped up to a sufficient level and if not, top it up with the solution recommended by your vehicle handbook.

You will also need to check that your windscreen wipers can effectively clear your windscreen. If they contain any cracks or tears, do not clear all water from your windscreen or make any squeaking noises when they pass, you need to have them replaced.

If there is snow or ice on your windscreen do not use anything other than an ice scraper to remove it. Hot water can cause the glass to crack whereas windscreen wipers may become stuck to a frozen windscreen and running your wipers in this condition could cause your vehicle to blow a fuse.

During cold weather, your windscreen may fill up with condensation. You can use your air conditioning to rapidly demist your windscreen and windows as dry, warm air will eliminate the condensation. If your windscreen takes a long time to clear, you may require an air con recharge.

For further advice on preparing your vehicle for winter, contact your local PTA Garage Services branch where one of our specialists will be happy to provide guidance.