With the cold and harsh conditions of winter well on their way, now’s the time to brush up on your knowledge of how to drive safely in winter conditions, and how to make sure your car is well prepared for the winter ahead. Read on, for Brayleys winter driving tips for 2016.
For a start, look after your car, so it can look after you, by getting it serviced at Brayleys, approved main dealers for Mazda, Honda, Renault, Mitsubishi, Kia and Dacia. This will ensure it’s working at its best, giving you peace of mind that it will complete every journey without ever letting you down, no matter what the conditions. So, for reassurance throughout the winter, contact Brayleys to book your car in for a service, any make or model, before the worst of the weather hits. Also, even with a recently serviced car, there are other things you can do to make it more dependable, and make sure winter driving is as safe as possible.
Batteries struggle in colder temperatures. To improve battery life, switch off auxiliaries such as lights, wipers, radio and heater before turning your engine off. This allows extra charge to run into the battery. Also, use a car battery charger to occasionally check your battery's condition, just to be sure it’s always strong enough to cope.
Depress the clutch when starting a cold engine, as this disconnects the engine from the gearbox, so there's less drag. Check the coolant reservoir regularly. If the level is below the minimum mark, top up with a 50/50 mixture of water and anti-freeze to prevent engine freezing.
An unclear windscreen can result in a fine of up to £1,000, so always make sure your screen is totally clear before driving. Use the air con and de-icer spray to clear it more quickly, and ensure the wipers are free to move. Use a scraper to remove any hard ice, but never use boiling water from a kettle, as this can crack glass.
Tyres must have a good tread depth. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, but it’s highly inadvisable to use tyres this worn down, especially when the weather conditions are poor. In fact, we recommend you use winter tyres during the colder months, because these are specifically designed to perform well in lower temperatures and over snow and surfaces with reduced grip. Take a look at our Brayleys Tyres price match offer and get a tyre quote.
Make sure you always have fuel to spare and never run close to empty. Your engine will use more fuel in colder temperatures, and generally there’ll also be more drain on it from using the lights, wipers and heater more frequently. Also, traffic is often worse in winter, which is also worse for fuel consumption. If the weather is particularly bad, you may be stranded for some time and need to keep your engine running to keep warm, using even more fuel.
Always carry these items in your car in case of a breakdown: warning triangle, jump leads, mobile phone, tow rope, shovel, first aid kit, water and snacks, and suitable clothing (hi-vis jacket, coat, gloves and boots). Driving in very poor conditions requires extra care and attention, and also specific car control techniques. Watch this video to help you drive more safely and more efficiently: