It gets dark before 5 pm, we’re past Halloween and you’re wearing a hat outside – the winter is here.
With colder weather approaching, it’s time to prepare your car for the season. Poor weather and freezing temperatures make it much more likely for you to break down, and the winter months also count for the highest number of accidents.
Before the worst of the winter comes out, read through our checklist for the best ways to prepare your car.
1. Service your car
Local garages often offer discounts for early winter checks as it’s the best time to get your car serviced before the weather changes dramatically. You might not need this if you’re experienced and comfortable doing thorough maintenance checks yourself.
2. Top up your engine coolant
Get a good mix of water and antifreeze for your engine. The antifreeze dilutes over time so if you only keep topping up water, it’ll freeze as soon as the weather gets colder. If your engine is making an unusual noise, your water pump could be frozen and you’ll need to switch off the engine and get your car somewhere warm.
3. Check your battery
Most batteries last a maximum of five years. With heating and other electrics in more use in the winter, your battery is under more strain than during other seasons. Check your battery is charged, and if you can’t get your car started, get it checked out at a garage.
4. Check your tyres are ice-ready
You should check your tyre pressure and tread depth regularly but with ice and snow roads become more slippery and this is even more important. The required tread depth is 1.6mm but it’s also recommended that a 3mm depth gives you a better grip in the winter. If it gets snowy in your area, you might want to invest in winter tyres.
5. Make yourself a winter emergency kit
It’s always good to keep some essentials in your car in case of a breakdown but if you get stuck in cold weather, there are a few extra things you should pack. Get yourself a torch and a blanket, or a warm coat, a hi-vis vest and a shovel: what you’d need to get yourself out of snow. Also pack screenwash, a de-icer and scraper – and keep your phone charged.
6. Get the right cover
Check your car insurance policy so that you know exactly what you’re covered for. Having comprehensive cover is crucial during the winter months, and you might want to check what emergency assistance is available to you if you get stuck.
At insurethebox we offer comprehensive cover and three types of breakdown cover. We fit a black box to your car that will help you influence your renewal premium but also helps us keep you safe. With driving alerts, we’ll support you in learning how to drive safely, and if your box senses a strong impact, it should alert us so that we can try and check you’re OK.