Winter is fast approaching so we have compiled a list of considerations to keep you prepared. Our climate is so unpredictable, and our rescue services are overcommitted even before the bad weather hits, so as my parents always said, “prevention is better than cure”.
Hopefully, you will benefit from one or more of the elements outlined within this guide.
For your vehicle - where appropriate: -
· Tyres: - Check your tyres. tread depth, safe condition, and inflation. The legal limit is 1.6mm but if you can afford to change your tyres at 2mm you will benefit from having more tread in adverse weather.
· Lights: - Check that all your lights work correctly, it is easier if you ask a friend to help you check while you operate them. Also, check that lenses are clean and free from damage
· Screen Wash:-Using winter screen wash at the correct concentrate will stop those days when your screen is dirty, and your screen wash is frozen. It is dangerous not being able to see through your screen. (do not use washing up liquid or soap as a substitute as this accelerates bacterial growth and blocks the system)
· Wipers: - Check that they are not split and that they clear the screen in both wiping directions. You could use a little methylated spirit with a disposable kitchen towel to clean the rubbers along the length, which will rejuvenate the rubber blades. (This can improve them considerably and extend their usable life).
· Levels: - Have your levels checked and corrected in preparation for winter. Having correct oil & coolant levels are vital to preserve your engine life and in keeping you mobile
· Battery: - Most batteries are sealed so you only know if there is a problem when they fail, however, batteries do not like the cold, so failures normally happen at the shock of a cold spell. Your battery would benefit from a pre-winter charge and condition check. This can be done by your local garage if you do not own a battery test/charger.
· Fuel: - Always try to keep your vehicle above ¼ tank. This is for two reasons, the most important one is to ensure that you have enough fuel to complete your journey, especially should you get caught in excessive traffic. And secondly, having a nearly empty fuel tank causes condensation (water) with temperature change, excessive water is problematic for many of your fuel system components.
· Leaves: - Lift your bonnet and remove any fallen leaves or debris from your vents and water drain channels
· Vents: - To help prevent window condensation always allow air to flow freely through your cabin. If your fan has an off position turn it to position 1 or above with the assistance of aircon (if available) and direct the vents to the windows.
For long distance travelling check the weather forecast and look for any severe weather warnings, also consider carrying the following items: - Snow Chains, a small spade, jump leads & fuel can. Someone on your travels may also benefit from you carrying an additional winter coat, gloves and woolly hat.
· Things to consider carrying above your normal everyday items: - Ice scraper/de-icer, blankets, sweets/snacks, drinking water, hand warmers & torch with spare batteries.
· It is also advisable to have a mobile phone charge lead accessible and have your insurance and roadside breakdown provider details close to hand.
· Everyday items to carry: - First aid kit, spare bulb set, warning triangle, hi-vis vest & spare wheel kit.
· During the current pandemic, please also consider carrying items of PPE that could be beneficial additions to have to-hand. Items such as face masks, disposable gloves and alcohol-based hand sanitiser/wipes.