Has someone you know mentioned Christmas to you yet? For the true festive fanatics amongst us, any time from the 1st September onwards is considered permissible to talk about the upcoming holiday season. In their defence, winter is closer than you think.
And while you start to think about where to source the turkey this year and check how much of last year’s wrapping paper is left, your poor car is steadily getting chillier and chillier outside. With cold comes various dangers to our faithful four wheeled friends, including thickened fluids running poorly, dead batteries, frozen fuel lines and wiper failure.
None of those things are ideal on a cold morning when you need to be somewhere, so what can you be doing to prevent these things happening? Here are some maintenance and product recommendations to see you through the winter period.
There are a number of things that should be on your winter checklist:
- Check the battery: Dead batteries are probably the number one bane of winter drivers, thus should be your number one priority. If you think your battery might be a bit old and tired, now is a good time to replace it. Otherwise you can get a home testing kit or see a specialist to do the hard yards for you.
- Add some antifreeze: Your engine coolant mix should be 50/50 water and antifreeze all year. Why? Because if you keep topping up with water in the summer months you’ll have a water heavy mix come winter when it really matters. Keep it even to avoid any engine overheat.
- Check the tyres: Your tyres need to be nice and grippy in treacherous conditions, so be sure to check tread levels and replace if necessary (you can get specific winter sets if you so desire). Also make a note to check pressures regularly.
- Clean the exterior lights: Driving on mucky, salted roads will take its toll on your exterior, so checking your lights to ensure they’re uncovered and clear to other drivers is essential to staying safe on the roads.
- Check the screen wash: The same muck and salt gets on the windscreen as well, so your screen wash needs to be topped up to ensure you’re not smearing dirt across your eyeline with dry wipers.
- Get a service: If all of the above seems like something you don’t have time for or simply can’t be bothered with, take your car into your local garage and get a winter service done. They’ll carry out all the necessary bits – you just have to cough up the cash.
Bits to buy
Speaking of coughing up the cash, there are a handful of useful products to add to your collection:
- Battery charger: For the reasons stated above, a charger may well come in handy.
- Wiper blades: Worn wiper blades will make your life miserable in the winter. Get new ones and keep your windscreen clear.
- Scraper: A good scraper is not only an essential investment for winter but also an incredibly satisfying tool to use.
- Antifreeze and tester: You can get antifreeze tester kits to go with your antifreeze to make sure your coolant mix levels are correct.
- Screenwash and de-icer: further essential fluids for the season.
- Car cover: if you want to take things to the next level, a full chassis cover will keep your car protected from the elements.
- Emergency kit: including everything from your phone and a charger through to breakdown repairs bits, you can find plenty of ideas online of what to put in your emergency in-car kit.
There you have it, a couple of handy checklists to see you and your car through the colder months. Of course, if all else fails you can head on down to your local Toyota dealer in Northern Ireland and get a great deal on a new car. In the meantime, remember to take care if your current vehicle, especially in this quieter lockdown period.