The Winter Car Care Routine with Sam Bailey
Whilst the arrival of winter means beautiful frosty mornings and the beginning of the festive season, for many motorists, it can also bring a lot of dread. From constant dirt and grit posing dangers to bodywork to slippery road surfaces, the colder and wetter weather can wreak havoc on all kinds of vehicles.
Take Sam Bailey, winner of the tenth series of the X Factor in 2013, for example. Sam is the proud owner of a Ford Mustang and like many other motorists in the UK, needs to ensure her car is fully prepared for the weather ahead.
So with this in mind, we have put together a list of the top ten ways proud owners can keep their prized asset looking fresh and protected ahead of the winter months.
1.Top up your Engine Coolant with Anti-Freeze
Even in the UK, we are not strangers to below-freezing temperatures. In the winter, it is especially important to make sure that your vehicles fluid levels are topped up and contain the right dilution of anti-freeze to ensure your engine is protected from extreme winter temperatures.
If any fluid in your engine freezes, it can cause some serious damage, such as cracking the engine. We recommend that your engine coolant is 50% antifreeze and 50% water. However, in winter, you can add a little extra anti-freeze for extra protection.
2. Check your Tyres
Of course, having healthy tyres is essential all year round, but this is especially important in the winter months. Tyres have huge role in the steering and braking of your car, therefore the pressure and tread must be in good condition. We recommend having a 4mm tread depth for winter to ensure a better grip on the road when it is icy and slippery.
You may also want to change from summer to winter-specific tyres, especially if you are expecting to do a lot of driving throughout winter and in snowy conditions. All-season tyres can provide a viable option for motorists looking to do-away with the hassle of a tyre change, however for anything more than a small dusting of snow, motorists should put their trust in the extra safety afforded through winter options.
3. Check the Battery
This should come high up in the priority list for preparing your car for winter. The colder weather can drastically reduce the output of your car’s battery, especially in icy conditions when temperatures can plummet to below freezing. Most batteries have a life expectancy of five years, so if you haven’t had yours replaced in quite some time, make sure you have a fresh one ready for the arrival of winter, otherwise you may find yourself stuck in a battle of wills against your car’s ignition!
4. Check Exterior Lights
Winter doesn’t just mean cold weather and icy roads – it also means darker days and nights. As well as this, the addition of salt and dirt on the roads can cause a build-up of residue, reducing the visibility of your car in the dark.
To keep you safe on the road, you must make sure all your exterior lights are in full working order and are kept clean to help prevent any accidents. Little things, like your rear number plate lights going out, can cause huge problems on the roads for yourself and other motorists, so it’s essential you take a visual walkaround your car every now and then to check everything is in full working order. As an extra step, it may be beneficial to carry spare bulbs in case of an emergency.
5. Service your Car
For many celebrity motorists, including our very own Sam Bailey, it’s incredibly important to keep cars in tip-top condition to keep up with their demanding schedules.
Speaking on the importance of servicing, Sam said: “I always like to take my car for an interim service before the ice and snow makes an appearance. This gives me a lot of reassurance when I’m doing regular commutes and longer distance journeys in the winter.”
We’ve all come across it, that all important oil change, lightbulb or tyre swap happens when we are cold and freezing at the side of the road in bleak December weather, so what better way to avoid these situations than by getting that extra level of protection and assurance through dedicated motor professionals.
6. Wash your Windscreen and Wipers
It is common for a lot of dirt to be sprayed onto your windscreen when you are driving in wintery conditions. It may seem counter productive given their job, but to ensure your wipers can actually clean this debris off your windscreen, give them a good wash and ensure they have no damage.
Also, it is important to check over your windscreen for any hidden chips. These smaller chips can grow and spread in the colder weather, turning them into fully-fledged cracks. If you notice any chips, its best to get them dealt with at your local garage before the ice arrives.
7. See What In-Car Options you Have
A lot of luxury cars, such as some models of Mercedes, give motorists the option of multiple driving modes, designed to provide you with the best driving experience dependent on the weather. Check what options your car has and, if available, choose to activate the winter driving mode in snowy and icy conditions.
Often with this mode, you’ll find a vehicle can switch to low-grip assistance, which can come in handy as skidding and sliding becomes an ever-present danger in the winter.
8. Check your Screen Wash
It is very important to make sure your screen wash is topped up fully before you embark on any kind of journey in your car. Extra precipitation in the form of either rain or snow, means your windscreen can get covered in grimy layers of dirt, which dangerously reduces your visibility when driving.
By ensuring your screen wash is always topped up, you can keep your windshield nice and clear. We always like to have an extra bottle of screen wash in our cars just in case we need to pull over and top it up.
9. Examine Seatbelts
Often overlooked, to be extra safe for both yourself and your passengers this winter, we recommend examining your seatbelts to make sure they’re in full working order. Ensure locking mechanisms work, and resistance is provided, so that support is there in the unfortunate event of an accident.
This step should be treated just as important as any other in this list, despite its standardised nature.
10. Carry a Winter Car Breakdown Kit
Last but by no means least, it can always be beneficial to carry a winter breakdown kit in your car, just in case. If you get stuck at any point, or you need to wait for help to arrive, this equipment can come in incredibly handy.
Essential items, such as a shovel, blankets, torches and hi-vis vests are some of the most common items included. We also recommend having a spare phone charger to keep you connected. This is especially important if you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere.
By following the above tips and tricks, you put yourself and your car in the best position to handle whatever this winter may bring!
For more information about leasing luxury and affordable vehicles, please feel free to get in touch with us today.