Commercial insurance article archive
Six steps to prepare your car for winter
Cosy nights by the fire, Christmas lights and festive cheer…despite the long, dark evenings and chilly weather, winter can be a lot of fun. Not so for your car, though: the cold temperatures and harsh driving conditions make winter the toughest time of year for cars, and the season in which you're most likely to encounter problems. Computer Quote Insurance recommend taking the following steps to make sure you're not one of the many filing an insurance claim this Christmas:
Book in for a winter serviceAs with everything in life, prevention is better than cure, and the time to start thinking about your car's winter maintenance isn't when the snow starts to fall – it's back in the autumn, before the cold snap really starts to set in. By arranging to have your car serviced at the start of the season, you'll be able to catch problems early, while there's still time to fix them, and set your car up for the coming cold.
Check your batteryThe shorter hours of daylight in winter mean that many of us drive to and from work in the dark, making us that bit more likely to leave the lights on and drain the battery. Make sure you keep your battery fully charged, and think about buying a set of jump leads to keep in the vehicle just in case.
Check your tyresYour tyres should be checked every year as part of your car's MOT, but it's important to check them again in winter, and keep an eye on their condition throughout the season. Slippy roads and snowy conditions will test even the best of treads, so make sure yours are ready for the worst the winter has to throw at them.
Check wipers, washers and lightsAll three come in for some heavy use during winter so make sure they're in good enough condition to keep your visibility clear. Remember that the road conditions will leave your car far dirtier in winter than at any other time of year, so clean your lights regularly to make sure they don't become obscured by dirt from the road.
Invest in some anti-freezeIf the coolant inside your engine freezes, you'll find yourself in big trouble. Antifreeze is important for the health of your engine even in the warmer months, but much more so in winter, so make sure you keep yours topped up.
Keep an emergency kit in the carHow many times have you left home in the morning in moderate temperatures, only to find yourself facing a blizzard on the way back home? Winter is a time of extremes, and even if you've gone through all of the checks above, keeping the following items in your vehicle will help give you additional peace of mind:
- De-icer and windscreen-scraper
Never leave home without them from November through to March!
- A shovel
You may only be driving as far as the office, but you could still find yourself having to dig your way out of the car park
- A torch
Remember those long, dark nights we mentioned? You'll need this if you find yourself stuck on a country road (or even a dark city car park)
- A first aid kit
If you've followed the advice above, you hopefully won't be needing it, but it's always good to be prepared
Finally, the best advice is to drive safely...and never drink and drive.
16 Nov 2006