With winter weather popping up in many parts of the country, it’s time to start taking steps to make sure that your car is prepared for the colder temperatures. There is nothing more miserable than being stuck on the side of a road on a cold winters evening. If this were to happen, you’d be dealing with stress, freezing temperatures and worst of all… a massive bill A car breakdown or repair can result in an enormous unexpected bill and stress, particularly if you haven’t got the funds to pay it. A quick short term loan could help cover the bill until your next pay cheque. But, you should be aware of the high interest rates and make sure you can afford repayments before applying. You may also want to consider other alternatives, like borrowing some money from a friend so you can get back on the road again. During the winter you’ll need to give your car some extra care. Here are five easy steps to ensure that your car is prepared for the cold winter ahead and minimise any additional costs or breakdowns:
Check and air up your tyres
One of the most common causes of a winter automotive emergencies, which can also cost a bomb, is a flat tyre. The reason for this is simple: on a cold day, your tyres are going to deflate slightly more than they would on a warmer day thus exposing the wheels to additional weaknesses. Don’t worry though, it’s easy to avoid this problem, just make sure to keep your tyres adequately inflated. If you need any additional information you can check your owner’s manual for details on proper inflation. You can also check the inside of the driver’s side door for the correct inflation pressure for your car.
Top Tip: It’s also worth noting that in some vehicles, the front and the rear tyres may need different pressures. If you don’t have easy access to your manual, there are many car owner forums online which may be able to help you.
Winter Windshield wash
Another common winter-related car issue is the build-up of ice and frost on your windscreen, which can arise at the most unexpected times and catch us off guard. Regardless of the interior’s temperature, a sudden drop in external temperature can cause frost to build up, leaving you with an icy window that you will struggle to see out of. In addition to this, cracks and splits can occur more frequently when your window is frosted over, so be sure to shop around and buy a winterised screen cleaning solution. It’s cheap to obtain and will defrost easily and quickly.
Top Tip: pair your winter screen wash with an antifreeze product. Antifreeze, also sometimes referred to as engine coolant, is used to help regulate your engine temperature during extreme weather conditions. It can be helpful in hot weather as well as cold weather, as it maintains a safe operating temperature.
Check the components
To make sure your car doesn’t have any ‘technical faults’ be sure that you have checked your oil. Different oil works in different climates, by checking you have the correct oil for the winter season will reduce the risk of any breakdowns and costly vehicle recoveries. Also check other fluids in your car, especially the antifreeze levels as well as ensuring the windscreen wiper fluid is topped up so you can keep your screen clear.
Top Tip: many garages now offer winter car checks, some even provide them for free, so it’s worth shopping around. Be careful about any additional charges and check the terms and conditions of the car check before handing your keys over.
Take your car to a trusted mechanic
The cold weather can affect most areas of the car. To save money in the long run, it is well worth taking your car to your trusted mechanic and asking for a full check to see if there are any problems or potential issues that may occur. Remember though; take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic as some might just find a reason to fix your car in order to charge you money.
Top Tip: with the increase of Google Reviews, it can now be easier to find trusted and recommended garages, in your local area online.
Don’t be impatient when setting off on your journey. Make sure to completely clear any snow or ice, so you have better visibility and prevent any snow sliding onto the windscreen whilst driving. In addition to this, wait until your vehicle has properly warmed up, to allow the engine and other components to adjust with the climate.
We hope that these tips help you save some money this winter. If you have any tips to share please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.