As the winter months approach, ensuring your car is equipped to handle the cold weather becomes crucial. Winter driving in Ireland can often be unpredictable and it takes its toll on your car. Having your car in the best shape possible will not only benefit your own safety but guarantee that your car maintains its value and helps preserve its longevity. In this article, we'll explore 8 essential checks to winter-ready your car. From inspecting your battery to checking the tread depth of your tyres, these tips will help you navigate winter roads with confidence. Let's dive into making your vehicle winter-ready!
Winter can be tough on your car's battery. Cold weather can sap its strength, so a thorough battery check is vital. Inspect your battery for corrosion and ensure the connections are tight and clean. If your battery is more than three years old, consider having it tested to ensure it can survive the winter months.
Also be aware that Electric Vehicle’s batteries are less efficient in cold weather. The chemical reactions that generate electricity occur more slowly at lower temperatures, leading to reduced battery performance and efficiency. This inherently means that the battery provides less power, translating into a shorter driving range. Many of the newer EVs allow for preconditioning, where you can heat the car while it's still plugged in. This uses electricity from the grid rather than the battery, conserving battery charge for driving. If you are considering going down the EV route, check out electric or hybrid – which is best?
Tyres are your car's only contact with the road, making their condition crucial in winter. Especially as there tends to be more debris, salt, ice and other road grime to contend with during the colder months. Check your tyre's tread depth to ensure adequate traction on slippery roads. Consider switching to winter tyres for better grip. Also, regularly check your tyre pressure as it tends to drop in cold weather.
Effective brakes are essential for safe winter driving. Have a professional inspect your brake pads and discs for wear. Ensure the brake fluid is at the correct level and consider replacing it if it hasn't been changed in a while. When driving in snow, ice, or even just cold temperatures, the stopping distance of your vehicle can significantly increase. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front of you than you would under normal conditions.
Shorter days and bad weather mean good lighting is vital. Check all your car's lights - headlights, brake lights, indicators, and reverse lights. Replace any blown bulbs and clean the lenses for maximum visibility. Also, check your windscreen wipers and replace them if they are worn to ensure a clear view. In low winter sun, it can be worthwhile turning on your headlights to be more visible when the sun is behind you, as oncoming drivers may be dazzled, making your shadowed car harder to see.
Engine coolant, mixed with anti-freeze, is essential in preventing your engine from freezing. Check your coolant level regularly and top it up if necessary. Ensure the mixture is appropriate for winter temperatures. In winter, the risk of engine coolant freezing increases, which can cause significant damage, including cracked components and engine block. Additionally, this mixture helps regulate the engine temperature, preventing overheating that can occur due to the increased strain on the engine in cold conditions.
Regular oil checks are a critical aspect of vehicle maintenance, especially during winter driving. In colder temperatures, engine oil tends to thicken, which can impede its flow and reduce its efficiency in lubricating the engine. This increased viscosity can strain the engine, potentially leading to wear and damage. Ensuring that your oil levels are adequate and considering a switch to a winter-grade oil can significantly improve your vehicle's performance in cold weather.
Keep your windscreen clean to combat road grime and salt. Stock up on de-icer to quickly clear your windscreen on frosty mornings. Don’t forget to check the condition of your windscreen for any chips or cracks that could worsen in cold temperatures. AIG Windscreen cover is included on both comprehensive and third party fire & theft car insurance policies for free and does not affect your no claims bonus so we recommend getting any chips repaired.
Prepare an emergency kit for your car, including items like a blanket, extra clothing, a shovel, jump leads, a torch, and snacks. This kit can be a literal lifesaver if you're stranded or face a breakdown. And of course it’s always important to be prepared in case you are involved in an accident.
Getting your car ready for winter is not just about comfort; it’s a vital part of your safety on the road. By following these 8 winter car care tips, you can ensure your vehicle is prepared for the challenges of the season. Remember, regular inspection of your car and timely maintenance can prevent many cold weather-related problems. Don't wait until the snow falls; start getting your car ready for winter today! And while preparing your car, consider safeguarding your journey with reliable car insurance from AIG. Check out our car insurance policies and drive with peace of mind this winter.