Get Your Car Ready For The Winter Freeze

Get Your Car Ready For The Winter Freeze

With warnings that the deep freeze will set in again this winter drivers should preparing their cars to ensure the temperatures don’t cause unnecessary car headaches.  From freezing locks to having to dig your car out from under an ice blanket, winter ‘snow’ how is essential.

Motoring expert Quentin Willson comments; "Brits are fairly slack when it comes to basic car maintenance. When severe weather hits any problems caused by neglect can become painfully apparent.

"Taking some time ahead of the winter weather hitting in full force to condition your car against the winter weather can save time and money in the long run, as well as helping you to get out of some tricky situations like being frozen out!"

Winter Car Care Preparation Checklist

1. Castrol research shows that around 50 per cent of drivers are not using the right oil for their car. Cold weather often causes oil to thicken, so if you aren’t using the right oil, it makes it even harder for the engine to get going, risks engine damage and premature wear. 

For advice about the right oil for your vehicle, simply text OIL to 83080*, enter your car registration number, and details of the correct oil, along with a picture of the product will be sent to your phone.
 
2. Check your antifreeze concentrate. Make sure the water in the coolant reservoir is a strong colour - usually blue or yellow.

If it’s a rusty brown, your engine won't be protected from freezing and a cracked engine block will cost thousands. In winter always top up your radiator with neat antifreeze.
  
3. Buy some windscreen washer fluid and check the reservoir. Don’t dilute with water but fill with concentrated solution that will stop the water freezing as low as minus five degrees.
  
4. Buy some Water Wetter. You can decrease the time it takes to warm up your engine by using additives that speed up the flow of heat through the engine coolant. Just pour it in the coolant reservoir and your car will warm up quicker.
  
5. Diesels take longer to warm up than petrol engines. So be prepared to wait a bit longer for the heater to blow out hot air.
  
6. Take advantage of the free winter car checks that many garages offer, but don't be persuaded to pay out for repairs you don't need. Always ask if the items they suggest are really necessary and get a second quote.
  
7. Don’t forget to check the tyre pressures and condition more regularly in the winter. This should be done at least once a week in normal conditions, but is especially important in severe weather when wet and icy road conditions can mean worn tyres won’t grip.

Winter Car Care Emergency Tips

1. When the big freeze hits, put a blanket over your windscreen overnight, tucking it under the wipers. The screen shouldn’t then freeze and the wipers won’t get stuck to the glass.
  
2. Get up ten minutes earlier. Defrosting icy cars takes time. Putting both sun visors in the horizontal position helps direct the flow of warm air back to the windscreen which helps to speed up the defrosting.
  
3. If the door lock is frozen, hold your key over a lighter for 15 seconds to heat it up, and insert the key into the lock.

It may take more than one attempt to completely thaw it out. Better still spray some WD40 into the lock barrel the night before and it won’t freeze at all.
  
4. Door seals and handles can freeze over and jam. To melt the ice, pour warm water round the door and handle. Never use very hot or boiling water as this could crack the glass. Wipe off any excess, as it will freeze again.
  
5. Check your exhaust pipe isn’t blocked with ice or snow. The car will be hard to start and toxic fumes could leak back in to interior.
  
6. When you’re starting a cold engine make sure the fan, heated rear window and any other electrical systems are turned off. Loading the battery during cold starts will reduce its power.
  
7. Never drive off with your windscreen or side windows partly defrosted. The small amount of time you’ll save isn’t worth the risk of ending up in a ditch.

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