Over Christmas many of us will make long journeys to visit friends and family around the country. Even if you won’t be heading off on a road trip you can bet your family car will do several packed runs to charity shops, supermarkets and various festive events. It’s so important to take a bit of time to look after your car in the winter, I know we’re all busy but a few quick bits of maintenance can protect your family.
One of the first things to consider is when your car was last serviced, if it’s due soon don’t put it off until after the winter. The AA say that whilst cold can cause lots of problems for cars, up to half of them could have been prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks.
Have a think about whether or not you’d benefit from winter tyres, also known as Cold Weather Tyres. They have lots of benefits including better grip and shorter stopping distances in wet and dry conditions. The tread pattern is designed to be self-cleaning so the tread doesn’t get blocked up with snow. Winter tyres also contain a higher level of natural rubber which allows the tyre to bond better with the road surface -giving a higher level of safety and grip. In short – the main benefit is the improved handling and reduced braking distance.
However, for them to be effective the temperature needs to be below around seven degrees centigrade, so they may not be for you – depending on where you live.
Regardless of what kind of tyre you’re using you need to be checking the tread and pressure periodically – especially if you’re prone to a big Ikea trip in December! Your cars manual will let you know what PSI they tyres should be inflated to and most garages provide air free of charge or at very low cost. Fife Autocentre provides accurate tyre fittings in Dundee, helping you save your money and ensure longer lasting tyres.
Another quick bit of maintenance you can do yourself is to top up the engine coolant with antifreeze. Your engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, it becomes diluted over time and can cause big problems for your car in the winter. Topping it up is a quick and cheap way to look after your motor and make sure you get from A to B safely this winter.
Finally, check your ‘winter kit’. Make sure you’ve got an ice scraper, antifreeze, a high-vis vest and some basic emergency supplies in your boot. We like to keep a power-bank, loose change and snacks in the boot too.
Wherever you’re travelling to this Christmas – take the time to do a little extra car maintenance and allow for a slightly longer journey to make sure you get there safely.