Last month we wrote a little about what we can all do to stay safe on the roads this winter. Now, with the weather turning against us, we thought we’d go a little more in depth into what we inspect during one of our free winter health checks.
Most of you don’t give your car battery a second thought, but we do. In the cold, your car has to draw more power to get itself started. On top of this, the lower temperatures slow down the chemical reactions inside, leading to batteries losing a lot of their charge. Throw in all the modern comforts we like to charge – phones, sat navs, and all the rest – and your car’s poor battery has a pretty stressful time over the winter.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of yours giving out at an inopportune moment. Keeping the vehicle in a garage is a simple solution to help keep it warm, but isn’t an option for many. A simpler solution might be to invest in a home car battery booster to give it that extra bit of juice just when you need it.
As part of our check up, we check your battery’s maximum and current charge (pun intended) with specialist equipment, to help warn you if a change might be needed soon, or to put your mind at ease if it isn’t.
Your car is a complex machine in need of all sorts of fluids to keep itself running at the highest standard. Running out of one of these consumables is bad news at the best of times, but can be truly dangerous in wintery conditions.
Screen wash helps you see clearly even in the grittiest, dirtiest conditions, while the correct oil lets your engine move freely and with less wear and tear. You probably shouldn’t forget your fuel level either – it’s not a fun experience to get caught out halfway through a journey unable to get any further.
You can check a lot of these from home, but our technicians know exactly what they’re looking for – I dare say it might be nicer to sit in our heated waiting area while they do it, rather than getting your hands cold and dirty outside!
At the risk of tyre-ing you out (I’m not sorry) by writing about them again, it’s hard to underestimate how important your car’s tyres are. So long as everything is going to plan, they’re the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road, and we like to keep it that way.
Your tyre’s tread helps to give it better purchase with the road, whether you’re driving on tarmac or ice. UK law requires them to have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre, but during winter more is always going to be better and safer. You can check this depth pretty simply by placing a 20p piece edgefirst into the groove and seeing how much you can see – if the raised outer rim disappears entirely, you’re within legal limits.
Many of our customers invest in special winter tyres, and swap between them and regular tyres each autumn and spring. These tyres having deeper tread for driving when wet or icy, and are made with a higher natural rubber content so that they remain softer and grip the road more effectively.
This list is hardly exhaustive, but it’ll hopefully give you a few things to think about before driving this winter.
Drive safe out there.
Want to find out more, or book your car in for a free Winter Health Check? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01746 764200, or drop in and see us in person.