Give Your Car A Winter Health Check

04 December 2018 Blog

Winter can be hard on your car, and driving in snow or ice is much more dangerous than in dry conditions even without factoring in the car faults that can strike in winter, so it’s crucial that you prepare for the cold season with a winter car health check.

Not only is a winter car check important to keep yourself and other drivers safe on the road, it can also save you money in the long run by catching minor problems with your car before the weather exasperates them.

Claim your free winter car check with Motorpoint by calling us on 01332 426 351 today.

Winter driving statistics

It’s not just thought that winter driving is more dangerous than at other times of the year, there are a range of statistics that have been collected by various authorities backing up the claim.

In 2017, the Department of Transport found that there were more road casualties in the last quarter than in any other quarter of the year and 13% more fatalities compared to the three months before.

In the same government report on road accidents in 2017, it was found that 10% of accidents in the year could be directly attributed to weather related issues, whether that’s a slippery road surface or impaired vision due to precipitation.

Despite the clear dangers that winter presents to drivers, and the proven benefits of winter tyres reducing stopping distance by up to 17% on snow and ice, only 3% of car owners in Britain actually have winter tyres fitted.

What’s included in a winter car health check?

A winter car check should be comprehensive; covering and checking every element of your car that could potentially put you in danger during winter driving.

Winter tyre check

Arguably the most important part of a winter car health check, making sure your tyres are fully prepared for the changes in weather is essential. Your tyres are responsible for maintaining your car’s grip on the road, and in the slippery conditions that winter can present, this is more important than ever.

There are a range of factors that determine your tyres’ readiness for winter, including optimal tyre pressure and tread depth. Although there are recommended minimum levels of tyre pressure and tread depth of 32-35psi and 1.6mm (around the centre three-quarters of the tyre) respectively, because of the hazards of winter driving we suggest that your car tyres should be comfortably above the minimum.

Specialist winter tyres can make your car even safer in the snow, offering increased road grip above what a regular year-round tyre can provide.

Engine antifreeze top-up

Engine coolant is made up of water and monoethylene glycol, a liquid that has antifreeze properties. Its purpose is to keep your car engine running at the right temperature to avoid overheating causing damage. Even with the cold temperatures of winter, it’s critical that you keep your engine coolant at the right level, and it’s essential that the ratio of water to antifreeze is right so that the coolant itself doesn’t freeze.

A winter car check includes an engine coolant and antifreeze check-up, ensuring that you’ve got the right mix of the two liquids and that there’s enough to keep your engine cool all winter.

Winter battery check

The low temperatures of winter mixed with darker nights and more inclement weather means that your car’s battery is tested to the limit. All of the parts of your car that the battery powers, like the windscreen wipers and headlights, see extra use through winter, so good car battery health is essential.

A failing battery will mean that your car will struggle to start, a problem that’s made worse in winter anyway. To make sure that your battery doesn’t fail through the cold months, a winter car health check will test its level of charge.

Headlight check

As the nights and mornings get darker through winter, your headlights become a much more important part of your car and see more use than they do in summer. Although it’s illegal for your lights to be faulty anyway, a broken light is extra dangerous in winter darkness and suboptimal driving conditions.

A winter car check will make sure that your headlights are in full working order before the dark mornings properly set in. We will check if your car light bulbs are working properly but the effectiveness of your headlights can be limited by dirty headlight covers. So, keeping them clean should be a priority for you throughout winter.

Claim your free winter car check with Motorpoint by calling us on 01332 426 351 today.

Other winter car and driving tips

Aside from making sure your car is in perfect working order before winter, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the challenges of driving in adverse conditions. There are several things you can do to minimise the risks of driving in ice or snow, including:

Carry an emergency winter kit

Carrying an emergency winter kit in your boot for if you get stuck in snow or your car breaks down. A good emergency kit should contain a shovel, torch, warm clothes and blankets, food for anyone who might be in the car, water, de-icer, and chains or snow grips, plus anything else you think you might need.

Leave extra time for journeys

Driving times are much less predictable in bad conditions, whether that’s snow or ice, so to account for delays and make sure you arrive to your destination on time, you should consider setting off earlier.

Thoroughly de-ice your car

De-icing your car before setting off makes sure that your visibility is maximised, hugely important to avoid hazards on the road.

Put time into planning your routes

Before you head off on a journey, spend some time planning your route to avoid any side roads and lanes that might not have been gritted, difficult junctions, or other potentially challenging parts of the road.

Book a free winter car check with Motorpoint

We’re offering free winter car checks at all of our branches, available until Sunday 23rd December. As well as checking all of the above elements of your car, a winter health check at Motorpoint includes checks of your oil levels, brake fluid levels, screen wash, power steering fluid, anti-freeze system, and auxiliary belt condition.

Book your free check up today by calling us on 01332 426 351!