Protecting your car in cold weather

When the temperature drops outside, you can turn the heating up indoors or put on a few extra layers – but your car can’t do the same whilst it’s parked on your driveway. It’s very important to look after your car during the colder months of the year to keep it working properly, as cold weather can affect the battery, engine, and many other parts inside the car. If you rely on your vehicle for work then it is especially important to make sure it remains in the best working condition. The last thing that anyone wants is to go out to their car, van or lorry in the morning and find it’s not going to operate properly. Here are some hints and tips for keeping your car protected in winter weather.

Our first and most important piece of advice is to start early, and prepare for the cold spell before it hits. Check your vehicle’s battery and oil, and the radiator/cooling system – top up or replace anything that looks unusual or low. As oil thickens at lower temperatures, you may want to switch to thinner oil for winter. You should also consider fitting your car with winter tyres, as you’ll need to have at least 3mm of tread for wintry road conditions, and it’s a good idea to pop some floor mats and seats covers in the car to minimise the snow, ice and mud tracking through the cabin.

Every time that you start up your car, let the engine run for a little while to warm up the fuel system and help defrost any ice. Use an ice-scraper to clean your windscreen instead of the wipers, as this can break or damage the wiper blades. It’s always a good idea to have anti-freeze and lock anti-freeze handy as, if water gets into the locks and then freezes, you’ll be unable to open and drive your car. You’ll also need to use a 50-50 mix of water and anti-freeze in the cooling system throughout the winter, to prevent the pipes and radiator from freezing up and causing the car to overheat on the road.

To keep your car protected overnight, it’s worth investing in a windscreen or full car cover to prevent ice from forming on the windscreen and bodywork. If you aren’t using a car cover, leave windscreen wipers stretched up and out so that they don’t stick to the screen.

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