The December freeze is upon us and winter in Ireland can be harsh and uncompromising, so we have put together a list of 5 easy winter safety tips to help you prepare your car for the frosty season!
1) Create a car emergency kit
The long cold nights in winter make a winter car emergency kit one of the best life hacks you can have for the season. Keeping a car safety kit in your car can benefit you in many ways, from getting rid of the pesky morning ice up to even keeping you warm for a few hours while waiting for help.
We don't have to go back far to remember when the winter was so bad, cars were being abandoned on the hard shoulders all over the country and motorists were simply stuck.
It's for that reason that we recommend having the following:
2) Check your tyres
Your tyres take serious punishment during winter months when the roads are gritted and there is more debris around. This debris can be a mix of gritting salt, mud, oil, stones etc which makes traction difficult.
Simple tips like checking your tyre pressure versus your owners manual, checking that there are no bulges on the tyre sides walls, checking that there is no uneven wear etc is all necessary to have a safe journey.
For more tips, check our guide on Why Your Car Tyres Matter
When snow falls and turns into the sludge it can bring the entire country to a standstill. Taking care of your tyres is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for winter – remember it’s your vehicle’s only contact with the road and are vital in getting you from A to B safely.
3) Check your coolant
Engine coolant is also known as antifreeze and as the name suggests, it is very handy in winter! In general your vehicle will need a change of antifreeze every two years or so. Make sure your car’s coolant is in good condition. It should be coloured, red, yellow, green, or blue, if it’s clear it’s time to change it.
If you can’t remember when it was last changed, then you’re probably best off changing it soon! A coolant tester is a great way to check how well your coolant is working.
4) Don't forget about engine oil
Often in the colder months you may need to change your oil to one of a lower viscosity (thickness). If temperatures drop below zero your vehicle’s fluids are in danger of freezing. Thickened engine oil can throw up a lot of problems for your engine meaning a change in oil could be needed.
30 weight oils are most common, but consider using a 10 weight oil in very cold conditions instead. Check your manufacturer’s guidelines for more specific winter safety tips where your oil is concerned.
5) Your car battery
Dead batteries are very common in the winter months and it is a terrible time to realise that your battery is at its end, you can get your battery checked and we advise you do this before the Christmas period. When the temperature reaches freezing, your car battery will lose about a third of its power. Make sure your battery cables, posts and fasteners are all in good condition with no corrosion and are securely attached to the battery. Store your car under a roof or cover if at all possible. Have your battery and electrical system checked by a professional if you have any doubts or worries about its ability and durability.
Of course you should check you car regularly, we advise each time you stop for fuel (or a charge) and do a quick walk around inspection including all your lights, wipers etc.
If you would like some more information on preparing your car for winter or you have any questions then:
(Photo credit: Pixabay.com)