UK Cold Weather Car Maintenance Tips

Being prepared for harsh winter weather is always a good idea when you’re planning on taking your car out, especially if it’s going to be a long journey. Conditions in your area may be fine when you set out, but that doesn’t mean the same will apply at your destination – and things can change very quickly. Even today’s advanced weather forecasting tools can’t always ensure the information you’re getting is 100% reliable.

car servicing & repair

But what should you do to make sure you and your vehicle are ready for winter? Here’s our guide to some of the key checks you should be making ahead of the season or in advance of making a long winter journey.

Preparing your car for the cold weather

  • Battery

Your car battery has to work harder in winter, as it’s often running more systems such as heaters and lights. If you have any doubts about its condition, for instance if your car isn’t starting as quickly as it should, then it’s worth getting checked because you may be due to get a new one. It’s also worth keeping a jump lead stored away to get you started in an emergency.

  • Tyres

Your tyres will be in direct contact with wet and slippery winter roads, so making sure they’re in the right condition is one of the most basic checks you should be making ahead of driving in winter. While checking the pressure in our tyres is a regular job, we may usually not pay as much attention to the tread depth – in winter, however, this is probably even more important as it’s the tread depth that determines how effectively your tyres disperse water and ice. Of course, it’s also worth considering getting winter tyres fitted, as they can significantly improve your handling and grip when the temperature dips and stays below 7°C.

  • Brakes

Brakes are integral to your safety at the best of times, but when rain, ice or snow are on the road, their effectiveness is even more essential. Your brakes will already be regularly checked as part of your MOT and annual service, but it’s always worth getting them looked at again if the last time was a few months ago or you have any doubts at all about their current condition.

  • Visibility

Wintry conditions can seriously impact your visibility as icy water is thrown onto your windscreen by the tyres of other vehicles. Keep your screenwash topped up – and carry spare in case you have to use more than expected – and make sure your wiper blades are in good enough condition to keep your windscreen clear without leaving streaks in your line of sight.

  • Fuel

Don’t let your fuel gauge get too low in the vague expectation that you’ll come across a petrol station before you run out. If you’re going on a long journey, make sure you top up before setting off – that extra petrol might mean you can keep the engine running longer to keep warm and/or charge your phone if you get stuck. If you have an electric vehicle, the same principle should apply – in other words, ensure your car has been fully charged.

  • Antifreeze

Your engine needs coolant to ensure it doesn’t overheat, but in harsh winter weather that coolant could freeze if you don’t have the right levels of antifreeze in it – and the effects on your engine could be severe. Your vehicle manual should tell you how often your antifreeze will need replacing (it’s usually every three years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first), but it’s worth checking with your mechanic to ensure you’ll be safe.

  • Emergency kit

If the worst happens and your car gets stuck in heavy snow or you suffer a breakdown, you’ll cope far better if you have prepared an emergency kit to get you through such a situation. Make sure your phone is fully charged before setting off, but also include a shovel, a rope for towing, a torch and a hi-vis jacket. It would also be advisable to pack a blanket to keep you warm and some food and drink just in case you’re going to be stuck for several hours.  

How to avoid breaking down in the winter

Booking your car in for a comprehensive check just ahead of the winter season will ensure it’s ready to deal with just about any conditions the British weather can throw at it. Getting a professional to run their eyes over all your vehicle’s essential parts, components and fluids will give you the best chance of safely negotiating the cold season without a breakdown.

Here at UK Tyres, we can help with all elements of checking, servicing and maintaining your vehicle and its tyres to ensure you’re always ready, whatever the weather. Our fully trained experts know what to look for and will give you the support that will enable you to face the season with confidence.

Contact us now to find out more or to book your vehicle in with our experienced team.