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Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter discussed by AP Autocare

When winter is here and the dark, cold nights have set in you should always ensure your car is ready and safe to drive in the colder, wetter and icy conditions. You never know when the freezing temperatures will take hold which result in dangerous driving conditions like icy roads, sleeted drives and even snow.

Preparing yourself and your car for driving in these conditions is vital to keep yourself and others on the road safe, as well as decreasing the likelihood of you breaking down. Statistics show you are twice as likely to break down during the winter months, so taking a few steps to ensure your car is prepared and ready for winter will decrease the chances of you breaking down.

Our ‘Prepare Your Car for Winter’ hints and tips will ensure you and your car are ready for the cold weather and keep you ahead of the winter weather and adverse driving conditions.

At AP Autocare we offer winter car checks and services to ensure your car is ready and in safe working order for when the colder and adverse weather arrives. Contact us on 0117 911 8719 to book your car in or alternatively you can book online here - https://www.apautocare.co.uk/service.

Preparing Your Car for Winter

Book Your Car in for a Service 9 Winter Check with a Reputable Garage

The most efficient and safe way to prepare your car for winter is to book it into a garage for a winter service as this will include the essential checks to ensure your car is ready for the winter. A winter service will include:

  • Battery Test
  • Tyre Check
  • Brake Pads, Discs and Brake Fluid Checks
  • Fan Belt and Alternator Drive Belt Checks
  • Coolant & Antifreeze Top-up
  • Windscreen Wiper Inspection
  • Screen Wash Check
  • Oil Level Check
  • Lights Assessment

Battery Test

Cold, damp weather puts huge amount of strain on your car's battery as it makes it harder for an engine to start and has an impact on the battery’s ability to keep your car running as well as powering your cars heating system. There is nothing worse than getting into your car in the cold or freezing weather and your battery won’t start your car. If it won’t start then it is likely that your battery needs replacing. Your garage will check the health and the voltage outage of your battery during its winter check and service and advise you if it needs replacing before it gets to the point when your car won’t start.

Tyre Check

Checking the tread depth of your tyres is important at any time of the year but even more important in the winter. The legal tyre tread limit is 1.6mm, however, more than this will dramatically improve the steering and your cars braking speed and capabilities which essential if the roads are icy or wet. If any of your tyres need replacing, or are nearing the minimum tread then your garage will advise you of this and recommend any which should be replaced. They will also check your tyre pressures which is essential for safe driving in the winter and you should also do this every 4 weeks and before any long journeys. Tyre pressures can change quickly when the temperatures drops so checking them regularly is essential for safe driving.

Brake Pads, Discs and Brake Fluid Checks

During your service and winter check your garage will check your brake pads, brake discs and brake fluid to ensure they are safe, legal, fast and responsive which is more important in the winter months when the roads are wet and icy and you need to stop your car quickly. During your service and winter check, they will make sure your brake pads and fluids are bled and replaced and they will let you know about any faults in your cars braking system so you are able to rectify them immediately so your car is safe to drive.

Fan Belt and Alternator Drive Belt Checks

Your service and winter check with your garage will ensure your cars fan belt and alternator drive belts are tight and not worn, and that all your plugs and leads are in good condition and secure. These checks will prevent the likelihood of you breaking down if they need replacing.

Coolant & Antifreeze Top-up

Antifreeze is an essential element to stop the water in your engine’s cooling system freezing. Engine-related breakdowns and sometimes engine’s seizing are commonly related to your cars cooling system and its antifreeze levels. Antifreeze is added to the water in your vehicle's radiator to prevent it from seizing and causing costly issues. Frozen water expands and can split engine hoses and pipes, causing leaks and reduces its cooling efficiency. A winter car check and service with a garage will ensure your vehicle’s cooling system is working effectively and your cars antifreeze levels will be checked and refilled if needed. Checking your antifreeze levels regularly throughout winter is essential to your car running smoothly and will prevent costly breakdowns.

Windscreen Wiper Inspection

Windscreen wipers working effectively are extremely important in the winter to ensure you always have full visibility in wet and icy driving conditions. A service and winter car check will ensure your windscreen wipers are in good working order. The cold wet weather can damage the rubber on your windscreen wipers so it’s always a good idea to check them regularly throughout the winter yourself.

Screen Wash Check

During the winter months, you will use your windscreen wipers and screen wash a lot more due to the salt and dirt on the roads so it is essential it is topped up and at the right level. Even if your windscreen wipers are in good working order they will smear dirt across the windscreen if your screen wash is empty. Your garage will check the levels of your screen wash and fill it up during your winter check and service with them and you should also check it regularly throughout the winter and before you go on any long journeys.

Screen wash has a lower freezing temperature than water alone so you should always use a good screen wash to prevent freezing which will end up in you not being able to use your windscreen wipers effectively when you are driving and can also result in the windscreen wash bottle and pipes splitting which will then need to be replaced.

Oil Level Check

Your winter check and service with your garage will check the oil levels in your car’s engine. Too much or not enough oil in a car will cause major engine problems so it is vital it is at the right level to avoid unwanted breakdowns and costly repairs. Driving without enough oil or low oil pressure will seize your car’s engine, resulting in you needing a whole engine replacement. If you notice the oil light on when you are driving or whilst the car is running, you should turn your engine off and check your oil levels immediately. Your garage will advise you which oil you should use as for some cars thinner oil is recommended in the winter to enable it to run more smoothly

Light Assessment

The days are shorter and darker and the weather is worse during the winter months so ensuring your exterior lights are working effectively is an important winter check that your garage will do when it is with them.  You should also check and clean your lights regularly as the salt and dirt from the roads will build-up on them without you knowing in the winter months, reducing the effectiveness of your lights for others to see you, as well as reducing your visibility. Driving without working exterior lights is illegal and dangerous, so it is an important winter check.

A winter check and service at your local garage will ensure your car is prepared and ready for the colder months and adverse weather conditions. Snow, ice and wet roads can cause dangerous driving conditions so having your car checked and in tip top condition is vital to yours and others road user’s safety.

Preparing for Longer Journeys

When you are going on longer car journeys you should always be prepared and carry a winter breakdown kit which you will be extremely grateful for if you ever break down. A winter breakdown kit should include:

  • Mobile phone and a car charger
  • Hazard warning triangle
  • De-icer and scraper
  • Hi-visibility vest
  • First aid kit
  • Shovel
  • Walking boots
  • Torch
  • Warm clothes & blanket
  • Food and drink

Check you have Breakdown Cover

When you are going on a long journey away from home it’s always a good idea to have breakdown cover even if your car has been serviced and had its winter car check at your local garage. Being stranded and broken down away from home in the winter is scary so even having minimal breakdown cover will ensure you have access to a company coming out to you to try and get you started again, or getting you to a local garage for any faults to be repaired. Breakdown cover will give you peace of mind that you aren’t on your own on longer journeys in the winter when the weather and driving conditions are normally worse.

Many of the problems you find when driving in the winter months can be easily avoided by booking your car in for a Service and Winter Car Check so any problems or likely problems which may occur are fixed before they cause you any problems. Being prepared is important when it comes to road safety in the winter so take time to invest in your cars safety when preparing for winter and before you go on any long journeys. AP Autocare in Bristol will Prepare Your Car for Winter and have pre-set winter checks which will make sure you and your car are prepared for the colder months.

About AP Autocare

We have been in business for over 40 years and are one of the most reputable and independent MOT, Repair and Service Centres in Bristol and we are Bristol's Largest Independent Multi Manufacturer Specialist.

We are within walking distance from Bristol City Centre and Temple Meads Train Station and are ideal for your Winter Car Check, Service, MOT or Repair if you work in the city centre or surrounding areas.

We offer a courtesy car if you need a car whilst it is booked in with us, or we can arrange a lift to work, home or a collection and delivery service to ensure that being without a car isn’t an inconvenience for you.

We are friendly, professional and have competitive rates, with the skills of a main dealership but without the costs associated with them.

We offer services for all vehicles of any age and size from small cars to light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes (Class 7).

Our Services include:

  • Winter Car Checks
  • Servicing
  • MOT’s
  • Bodywork & Paint Repairs
  • Engine Diagnostics and Repair
  • Annual and Interim Services
  • Air Conditioning
  • Tyres & Exhausts
  • Brakes
  • Clutches
  • Remapping
  • Suspension & Steering
  • Welding
  • Battery Testing & Replacement
  • Wheel Alignment
  • Tyre Replacement
  • Remapping

We are a specialist and recognised garage for many of the main car manufacturers including; BMW, Citroen, Peugeot, Mini, Porsche, Audi, VW, Seat, Skoda and Land Rover and we have main dealer level diagnostic equipment along with main dealer knowledge and expertise. Bringing your vehicle to us for any of our services can save you up to 30% compared to main dealer prices.

If you are looking for a Winter Car Check, Service, MOT or Repair for your vehicle, please contact us on 0117 911 8719 and one of our experts will be able to answer any questions you may have and arrange an appointment for you.

Published: Thursday 12th December 2019