Avoid winter breakdowns with these five basic tips
With winter closing in thick and fast, the last thing any motorist wants is to be stranded on the side of the road waiting for a breakdown service to arrive.
So with this in mind, road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist has put together various pointers to reduce the chances of your motor conking out.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “No one wants their car to break down on a chilly morning… or at any other time. At best it will bring inconvenience and delay, but since we rarely get to choose the location of a breakdown, there can also be significant risks involved for you, your passengers and other road users.
“Prevention is always better than cure, so by seeing to a few basic maintenance needs, you can greatly reduce the risk of a breakdown in the coming months.”
Check your battery
Cold weather puts a lot of strain on batteries, so it’s worth getting yours checked before a cold snap. Batteries are the cause of a lot of calls to breakdown services when the temperature drops, so buying a new one now could be a sensible investment.
Check your cooling
Anti-freeze is vital to ensure the water in your engine’s cooling system doesn’t freeze up. If you check your levels and find you’re low, GEM recommends visiting a local dealer or mechanic to get topped up.
Check your lights
With shorter days meaning commutes can take place at night, as well as cloudy days causing worse visibility, being seen is more important than ever. Check all of the lights on the inside and outside of your car are working, and clear any grime off the outside too.
Check your tyres
GEM recommends checking your tyre pressures and tread depths weekly during winter. This is because it’s more important than ever that your tyres are in good condition to offer maximum grip and take advantage of your car’s safety systems. The minimum tread depth is 3mm.
Check your wipers
Dirty or damaged windscreen wipers can make driving in the rain a nightmare, so check they’re in good condition. You should also keep your screen wash topped up, because your windscreen will be covered in more grime in winter, so clearing it off is essential to see properly.
Check you’ve got the essentials
And finally, there are a few things to remember just in case the worst does happen. A thick coat is a good idea in case you have to wait outside the car or the heating fails, while a blanket can be vital if you’re stuck the night somewhere.
Meanwhile, a torch can be useful if stuck late at night, a warning triangle is great for helping others avoid your vehicle, and a small strip of carpet can help give your tyres grip if you’re stuck in the snow.
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