10 Tips To Make Your Winter Road Trips Safer
Winter breakdowns are tough, especially when then occur in some desolate spot leaving you stranded in the icy weather. Many people understimate the importance of pre-winter vehicle checks and maintenance until they have a crisis on hand. Don’t let that happen to you. Here are some tips to make those winter drives safer.
1: During winter, the roads become icy and there is a high risk of skidding. Keeping your speed low and driving carefully helps, but you should also check your tyres and ensure that they are fit for winter road conditions. Check the treads on all the tyres, including the spare and replace tyres if needed. Inflate tyres to their recommended pressures.
You can find this information on the rim of the tyre or on a sticker near the driver’s seat. Tyres are crucial to the safety of your vehicle. This becomes critical during winter given the difficult road conditions.
2: Get your brakes pads and the effectiveness of the braking system checked.
3: Low engine oil levels or bad oil quality can make your car more vulnerable to the frosty conditions of winter. Check the oil levels and ensure that they are topped up to the required levels.
4: The antifreeze in your car is critical for engine protection all through the year. It prevents the coolant from boiling over in summer and freezing in winter. A mixture of equal quantity of water and antifreeze is usually enough. However, the requirement may change for unusually harsh winters. Use a tester kit to verify that you have the required proportions of antifreeze.
5: Nothing is more frustrating than a car that won’t start and makes you wait for help on a cold winter night. Winter conditions put additional strain on your car’s battery. Before winter starts, get your batteries and charging system checked to ensure that everything is working well.
6: Damaged or worn engine belts can fail in low winter temperatures. Before winter, check and ensure that your engine belts and hoses are in good shape.
7: Dust and other contaminants accumulate on cabin air filters throughout the year. When you switch on the heater in winter, these contaminants may vaporise or get dislodged and enter the cabin. This can be a health hazard. Clogged cabin filters can also damage your car’s HVAC system.
8: Visibility is seriously hampered in winter and it’s one of the main causes for accidents. Poor visibility compounds the difficult road and driving conditions. While you can’t change the weather, you can do your best to ensure maximum visibility. Check your windscreen wipers before the season. Windshield cleaning fluid with de-icer works better in frosty conditions.
9: Due to the reduced daylight hours, you are likely to rely more on your car’s lights in winter. Non-functional lights will make the visibility problem worse. Check all lamps and lights and fix or replace them as needed.
10: Protect the car’s exterior paint from the elements by using car wax. It will help maintain vehicle appearance and save you some money as well.
The above tips help, but they cannot rule out a breakdown or accident. Be well prepared, especially if you drive on isolated roads. Ensure that your phone is fully charged and you have the necessary numbers in your address book to call in case of an emergency. Carry a blanket and some extra food and water with you.
Other things like first aid kit, flashlights and flares are also important. Check your first aid kit to ensure that it has all the necessary items and nothing is past the expiry date. If you are going to a very remote place, inform someone about your trip, the route that you are going to take and when they can expect you back.
The best way to ensure that your car is in good shape for winter is to have it checked by an expert mechanic at a reputeable garage like our Volksmaster garage in Manchester. Call us now for more details or to make an appointment at our Oldham or Bury garages, please see the telephone numbers at the bottom of the page or complete the short enquiry form directly below. We look forward to hearing from you soon.