Car Servicing Tips: How Do I Prepare My Car For Winter?
There’s no time like the present to get your car in top shape. If you want your vehicle to stay out of trouble throughout the winter, read on for our checklist for vital car servicing checks this season.
Your Car Servicing Tips This Winter
In winter, your vehicle’s tyre conditions are really important to help control steering and braking.
Check your tyres have
- Correct tread depth: It is recommended to have 3mm of tread depth in winter (as opposed to the legal minimum of 1.6mm) for maximum grip on the roads.
- Correct tyre pressure: This varies from car to car, but you can check your owners manual for the correct pressure recommendation, and a mechanic will check this at a servicing.
- It is best practise to regularly check your tyre tread and rotate them often.
- Consider changing over to winter tyres even if the weather is not expected to be extreme.
Your car battery is put under extra strain in the winter. If you are starting your car in the cold, make sure you check for signs of pressure so you aren’t faced with a flat battery.
- A car battery lasts around 5 years, if it’s getting close to this time, get yours checked or replaced.
- Your car battery would be checked during a servicing procedure. A mechanic would also check for signs of strain from increased use of demisters and lights.
- Keep your oil levels topped up and check them regularly against the minimum and maximum levels on your car’s dipstick.
- Booking in for a winter car servicing will ensure your oil levels are checked alongside your oil filter.
- Braking can be more difficult and stopping distances can increase up to 10x in the winter. Get your brakes checked and serviced to ensure the system, fluids and pads are all in check.
- Check all lights are functioning correctly and are clean, as maximum visibility is required in the shorter days and poorer weather of winter.
Check before a long journey or when you will need your car early in the morning and late at night that its heating system is working properly.
Heated windows, demisters and air conditioning should be regularly tested to ensure a car can defrost properly and stay warm.
- It is a good rule of thumb to keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times in the winter so that your car is not struggling and you are less likely to break down on the side of the road in the cold!
- Antifreeze: Top this up during the winter so your engine does not freeze. You MUST check you have the correct antifreeze specification for your vehicle model (you can find this in the manufacturer’s guide for your vehicle).
- Brake Fluid: When you have your car serviced, the mechanic will check your brake fluid is sufficient for reliable braking in the winter.
- Windscreen Washer Fluid: Check your fluid levels to avoid freezing and ensure it is on hand to help clear your windscreen. Alongside this, check your front and rear wipers for cracks or signs of perishing so that they can work well to clear your windscreen of obstructions.
- Chips: repair chips and damage to your windscreen in good time so that they do not worsen or become cracks through freeze-thawing.
General Winter Driving Tips
Survival Pack: In the unfortunate event of a breakdown in winter, pack a ‘survival kit’ for emergencies. This may be as simple as food, drink, a torch and warm clothing while you wait for rescue, or you could ensure it contained jumper leads, a shovel and other essentials to see if you can get yourself running again.
Have a small piece of old carpet or a mat on hand when driving in the snow. If you get stuck, it may be as simple as placing this under the tyres to give them more traction and get you moving again.
Defrosting: Fully defrost your car before setting off. If there is snow on the roof of your car, safely remove it before driving so that it does not slip down and obstruct your view on your journey.
Time: Make sure you give yourself extra time at the start of your journey for de-icing and essential car checks before you set off. You may have to drive slower than expected or meet additional traffic, so bear this in mind too.
Phone: Keep a spare phone charger (preferably portable) on you so that you can contact your breakdown cover service or a trusted person in the event of an emergency.
Driving: General rule of thumb in the winter is to drive slower, brake sooner and not suddenly, and maintain controlled steering throughout your journey. Following this style of driving will help reduce the risk of skidding and make sure you have enough time to deal with any hazards you may encounter on your journey.
German Car Specialists Can Service Your Car This Winter
If you don’t want to worry about making sure you’ve successfully serviced your car and spotted any faults this winter, then German Specialists Ltd are on hand to do it all for you! We have successfully serviced cars for over 20 years and kept them going throughout the cold winter months. Our car servicing is always trustworthy and of the standard of a manufacturer’s servicing. We are based in Stockport and provide our services to the surrounding areas. If you would like to get in touch with us to enquire about a car service, please do call us on 0161 476 4422 or use our contact form to get in touch.