Mon, Nov 27, 2017 1:41 PM
It’s nice to be safe, warm and cosy in your car while it’s blowing a gale or snowing a storm outside. However, negotiating the winter roads isn’t much fun and if your car isn’t quite up the challenge, you could find yourself in a spot of bother.
At Oakmere Motor Group, we want our customers to stay safe on the roads during the cold months, so we’ve compiled a list of our top Winter Driving Tips to help you and your motor stay out of harm’s way.
Start as you mean to go by getting your car organised for winter driving. Think about booking it in for a service to make sure everything is tuned up and ready for the colder months.
Because our weather is so unpredictable, once you’re sure that your car is good to go, get it well stocked. De-icer, a shovel, a torch, some blankets, water and snacks will all come in handy if you do get stuck in snow.
Keep your mobile phone charged up in case you need to call for help and make sure you update your phonebook with the number of your breakdown assistance provider.
Your phone charge isn’t the only thing you’ll need to keep an eye on over the winter season. From the air in your tyres to the charge in your battery, you’ll need to spend a little time regularly checking and, if needed, replacing and refilling various parts of your car.
Tyres: Check the tyre tread on each wheel is above the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Use the rim of a 20p piece or a cheap gauge to do this at various different points each tyre. You might also want to consider switching to winter tyres to give your car extra grip on the icy and snowy roads.
While you’re at it, test your car’s tyre pressures too, using a portable air pump or the compressed air machine at a petrol station. You’ll find details of the recommended tyre pressures in your car manual, and you should top up or release air as appropriate.
Windscreen Wash: You won’t get very far if you can’t see through your windscreen so avoid running out of screen wash when you’re halfway through a journey by keeping the screen wash reservoir topped up. Don’t be tempted to dilute it as you’ll risk it freezing which will leave you with a mucky windscreen and possibly a damaged pump.
Battery: Ordinarily, a car battery should last around five years before replacing. If you think that yours might be on its last legs - rough starts, dimming lights and/or sluggish electrical accessories such as radio and windows - pop in to see us at Oakmere Motor Group to get a quote for a replacement.
If you decide not to use your car much during the winter months, stop the battery from going flat by periodically taking the car on a short run. This will also help to stop the brakes from seizing up.
When the bad weather does take hold, don’t be tempted to jump into your car and drive off straightaway unless it’s clear of ice and snow. The white stuff might look pretty on your car but it’s no fun when you can’t see through your windscreen or snow is flying off your roof into the path of following vehicles.
Use a frost cover at night, park your car in a garage or leave it under shelter, otherwise you’ll have to give yourself extra time to defrost your car in the morning. Running the engine for a while should do the job. Or you can use de-icer and a scraper to clear the car but beware of using warm water which can cause a cold windscreen to crack, and also run off the car to freeze and form a slippery hazard underfoot. Remember not to leave the car unattended while running - you could get in trouble with the police!
And possibly the most important tip of all - try to be patient on the roads. Driving slowly and carefully in bad weather is the sensible thing to do, even if you’re a confident driver. Stick to main roads which are more likely to have been cleared and salted. Snow can cover all sorts of hazards on the road such as potholes and speed bumps while ice is often difficult to spot, until it’s too late. Most people only take to their cars in bad weather if they really have to, so take your time and you’ll be ready for everything that the weather throws at you and your car!
Remember to stay safe. If you really don’t need to travel in bad weather, enjoy the snow from the comfort of your armchair instead!
Don't forget that if you have any concerns about your car over the winter months (or at any time of the year), get in touch with Oakmere Motor Group. From servicing and repairs to a brand new car, we’ll help to get you in the mood for safer winter driving!