How to prepare your car for harsh winter roads

Winter is coming! We all know, it’s in the air. If 2020 is anything to go by then it will probably be a harsh one too! With colder weather undoubtedly approaching, you might be preparing your home and your wardrobe for the incoming conditions. It’s also very important however to prep your vehicle. Winter proofing your car is essential. The money you can save on ensuring your have proper fluids, new brakes, and wipers is paramount. Your winter preparation could be the difference between you having a collision or not! We’ve been compiling a list of all the steps you can take to ensure your car is in the best possible position before you hit the road this winter.

1.Check your car battery and have it replaced if needed.

Car batteries can tend to die when the cold weather sets in because there’s additional strain on the car. This is due to the fact that motors are required to do more work due to motor oil being thickened by temperature.

Test your car’s battery to make sure there is no corrosion on the terminals. Consider having it inspected by a mechanic who will know immediately if it needs to be replaced.

This could save you from a car breakdown on a winter’s night!

2. Maintain enough tire pressure.

Unfortunately a visual inspection or a ‘kick check’ isn’t enough when it comes to inspecting your tyre pressure. Driving a car with one or more under-inflated tyres is a very dangerous feat. While it might be something that’s easy to forget, reduced tyre pressure can increase your cars rolling resistance. Extra rolling resistance and movement means the tyre will not only wear out quicker but it will also run hotter. These factors subsequently increase the risk of tyre failure or a blow out significantly.

Tyre blow outs can cause a driver to lose control of a car and crash into another vehicle or a dangerous object at the side of a road. You don’t want to have to ring your car insurance company or make a trip to the hospital, so prioritise this task this winter.

Mechanics recommend checking your tyre pressure on a weekly basis. Follow these steps to check your tyre pressure effectively.

  1. Check the tyre placard – usually inside one of the front door openings – or the owner's manual for the correct tyre pressures for your car. The pressure often differs for the front and the rear tyres.
  2. Unscrew the cap on the air valve of your tyre.
  3. Push your tyre pressure gauge firmly onto the tyre valve.
  4. Look at the pressure reading on the gauge.
  5. If the reading is low, attach the air hose to the tyre valve and increase the pressure to the correct level, rechecking with your own gauge if necessary.
  6. Screw the cap back onto the tyre air valve.

3.Check your tyre thread depth too.

While your carrying out some key maintenance on your tyres, you might as well check your tyre thread depth too. Worn tyres can increase your fuel consumption in addition to increasing the likelihood of an accident.

 

Checking tyre thread depth is an easy job to do yourself. Place a €2 coin in the main grooves of the tyre. If the silver rim of the coin disappears, then your tyres have enough thread depth.

Make sure that you check in at least three difference places along the tyre, as one part may be more worn than another.

4.Check your oil.

Checking you oil is a well known essential when it comes to owning a vehicle.  If you’re checking your oil for the first time, it can be confusing. Not to worry, here’s some great steps to follow.

  1. Warm up your car.

Warm up the engine of your car for approximately 5 or 10 minutes. When you’re satisfied your car has heated up, shut it off. This will allow oil to move freely in and out of the engine.

  1. Drain the oil.

Once you are sure your car is off and you are safe to continue, remove the old oil. Place a bucket under the oil drain plug and begin loosening the bolt with a spanner. Once it has been loosened effectively, remove it. Take heed of any steam that might rise from the engine. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to drain the oil.

  1. Find the oil filter.

Your oil filter is a round shaped canister that will be screwed against your engine. It is approximately 5 inches deep.

  1. Change the filter.

Loosen the filter with your spanner and remove it. Proceed with replacing the filter. Ensure you smear the new filter’s rubber seal with oil before reattaching it. Use your hand to tighten it back in place.

  1. Refill you oil.

Use your car manual to investigate how much oil you’ll need to refill. Locate the oil cap under the bonnet and fill your oil to the required level. Then replace your oil cap. Ensure levels fall mid-range between high and low using your dipstick. When you turn on your car, watch out for your engine light - it should disappear after a minute.

  1. Always use the right oil!

Try to remember to always use high quality oil in your car as this could affect your engine. Read your owner’s manual to check what type of oil is correct,  or ask a mechanic!

5. Prepare an emergency breakdown kit.

Emergency breakdown kits are really important especially in winter. You don’t want to be caught in an unexpected situation without the equipment needed. Invest in a breakdown kit or make your own. Ensure that you have jump leads, a portable charger, a hi-vis jacket, a reflective triangle, water, a spare tyre, a jack and a blanket in your car at all times.

If you’re looking for great car insurance cover and at a great price then why not reach out to www.insuremycars.ie?

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