November 8, 2023
We covered looking after your car in the warmer months earlier this year and now we’re going to give you our best tips for caring for your car and driving it during the winter. There will be some overlap between the two as there are some things you want to do no matter what time of year it is, but there are some specific things we recommend for winter.
Winter Car Care Tips
1. Check Your Lights
In the winter the sun rises later and sets earlier which means we’re spending more time in the dark, making your lights very important. We’d suggest checking your lights regularly all year round but increasing the frequency of this in the winter, especially if your car does not notify you when a bulb is gone.
You want to check your:
- Side lights
- Brake lights
- Fog lights
- Indicators (hazard lights)
We’d also recommend checking the interior lights, front and back. While they’re not essential for driving they can be convenient and help keep you safe in darker hours.
2. Keep Up to Date with Servicing
If your car needs any work then we’d always advise getting this done as soon as you can to avoid issues becoming larger, more damaging to the car and more expensive for your wallet. This is especially important in the winter as wet and cold weather can exacerbate issues like chips in the glass, and damage to the paintwork. So, make sure your car is serviced when needed, and any repairs or maintenance work is done promptly.
3. Invest in De-Icing Devices
Whether you prefer de-icer spray, a scraper or to cover your windscreen with a shield as we approach winter it’s worth checking what you’ve still got and investing in new tools if needed.
We advise a combination of de-icer spray and a windscreen scraper for drivers who want to quickly and easily clear their glasswork. If you’re planning on scraping then you’ll also want to get yourself a warm and waterproof pair of gloves to keep your hands dry.
4. Check Your Tyres
Depending on when your car was last looked at it may have been a while since your tyres were checked. Low tyre tread can make it even harder to get traction, especially on wet and icy roads so you should check your tyres a little more regularly during the winter.
5. Check Your Fluids
Make sure all of your fluids are topped up. Again, we recommend checking these all year round but it can be especially important in the winter as your car might need anti-freeze. Whether your car takes antifreeze and what type will depend on your specific model.
As part of your fluids checks, you should also check the fuel to avoid running out in the colder weather and being stranded in poor weather.
Winter Driving Tips
1. Check the Weather Report
Before setting out we recommend checking the weather so you know of any potential hazards it might cause. For example, high winds can make it harder to control a van or larger car, heavy rain can reduce visibility, increase braking distances and cause flood hazards on the road and ice increases the risk of skidding. Knowing what might come up on your drive helps prepare you for the weather, adjusting your driving to be safer in more hazardous conditions, as well as being aware of other road users and how they may behave.
2. Look Out for Animals
In the cold weather you’re more likely to see animals around your vehicle. This is especially true if it’s been parked for a little while as small mammals are often attracted to the warmth of an engine or the shelter that your car provides. You’ll want to check around your car before setting off in cooler weather.
You’ll also see animals moving around on the road and want to be mindful that they may act unpredictably and run into the road when you’re not expecting them to.
3. Slow Down
One way to give yourself more time to react, to bad weather, an animal or any other potential hazard is to slow down. Slowing by even just five miles below the speed limit could be the difference between being involved in an accident and an uneventful drive.
4. Utilise Winter Mode
Some cars will have a winter mode in their design, in particular automatic models. If your car is one of these then we recommend using the function.
5. Keep a Winter Kit in the Car
In case of an emergency, we recommend keeping a winter kit in the car. This should include essentials like a hi-vis jacket and first aid kit that you’ll have all year round, but also winter-specific items. Some items we recommend including are:
- A blanket
- A torch
- A small shovel (can be used on snow)
- Scarf, hat and gloves
- Walking boots / shoes
Enjoyed this article? Read more of our latest blogs below:
- Your EV in Cold Weather
- Meet the Wessex Fleet Management Team
- How Your Fleet Could Benefit From Adding Hybrids
- Pay as You Go Fleet Maintenance
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