How to prepare your car for the cold

You will need to prepare well to ensure your car can survive the colder months.

The winter months can take the biggest toll on your vehicle. Such issues as not being able to start your car, sliding on the ice, decreased visibility and getting stuck in the snow are a regular occurrence when the weather gets colder.

For this reason, it is vital that you take a few steps to prepare your vehicle for the challenges that you may encounter when driving in ice and snow.

Clear your windows and lights

As the nights draw in, visibility is likely to be lower and so it is important that you try to reduce this problem as much as possible by ensuring your windows are clear and your lights are clean.

Regularly clean your lights using warm soapy water and check that they are working throughout the winter. Make sure you have spare bulbs just in case you are unlucky and one of them goes. Not only is it important to have working lights for making sure you can see when driving at night but it is also a legal requirement.

Your windows are likely to be filled with ice and mist during winter too so it is important that you always leave time to clear them. Carry antifreeze and a scraper in your car and use your air con to heat your windows.

It is well worth servicing your air con during winter as you will need it while you are driving to keep your windscreen and back window free of moisture. According to Kwik Fit, your air con needs to be serviced approximately every two years.

Park under cover where possible

One of the most nerve-racking problems in winter comes as you go to start up your vehicle, when you hear the engine having to turn over for longer than usual and you wonder if your car will be able to get moving.

The cold weather can make it harder for your vehicle to get going and put a huge strain on your car battery, so much so that you could drain it before your car starts up.

To ease this somewhat, parking your car undercover as a means of keeping the engine a little warmer is a must. Try to clear out your garage to make space for your vehicle, as keeping your car in here will also help you to protect your windows from icing over as well.

Switch to winter tyres

Should you be able to get your vehicle moving, you will have to drive carefully while the roads are icy.

If you can plan your journeys entirely around busy roads then you may not encounter too much snow or ice as these are regularly treated with grit and salt. However, if you live in a rural area, a housing estate or even if a blizzard comes down unexpectedly, there is likely to be ice and snow in the way.

Changing to winter tyres is one way to ensure you can maintain your grip on the roads. Their rubber compound and tread pattern are specially designed to keep traction and maintain flexibility in cold weather.

Check tyre pressure regularly and refill to maximise this and, if you do not intend on switching to winter tyres, make sure your tread depth reaches at least 3mm.

Use snow chains

An alternative to winter tyres is snow chains, which may be of use if you live in a rural area that is likely to be hard hit by snow.

It is not possible to use snow chains everywhere in this country as they can only be used where there is a compacted layer of snow or ice on the road. Therefore, in areas that are high up or far north, they are ideal for helping you get around.

To fit them, however, there must be enough clearance between the wheel arches and tyres. Therefore, you may need to change your tyres in advance.


  • On: 06 December 2013
  • By: CarShop

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