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Car Care Checklist: Is Your Car Ready for Winter?

08 November 2017

Is your car ready for the cold weather? The winter season is no secret here in the UK yet we regularly find ourselves pouring hot water over iced windscreens with the year’s first frost.

So to make sure you’re prepared for this year’s cold snap, we’ve put together a few winter car care tips and advice, from all your winter essentials to what to do if you skid on icy roads.

Seeing clearly

Be sure to clear your windscreen before you start your journey - buy ice scrapers and demister pads at B&M

First thing’s first: you’re not going anywhere if you can’t see. Visibility is key, so make sure you have everything you need to clear your windscreen on frosty mornings.

Ice scrapers and de-icer are important, but you’ll also need some demister pads to help you clear any condensation from the inside. Once you have full visibility, including the rear window and all side windows, you’re ready to go.

It's also vital that your windscreen wipers are fit for purpose (it’s recommended you replace them every 6-12 months) and it's worth checking that you have a winter or all-season screenwash.

B&M Top Tip: Leave the house at least 10 minutes earlier than usual to give you time to de-ice your windscreen and warm the car up.

Under the bonnet

Okay, your windscreen is ice-free and de-misted but there’s a problem…the engine won’t start. Have you topped up with the appropriate anti-freeze? This is worth checking before it gets cold so you’re well prepared. You’ll need a 50:50 mix of water and coolant.

Has your car been serviced since last winter? If it’s been in the garage recently then your mechanic may well have already topped you up with anti-freeze.

How old is your battery? Modern car batteries last around 5 years – if it’s older than this you run the risk of breaking down midway through your journey, or before you make it off the drive.

If you’re unsure, it’s worth considering a winter check-up to make sure you’re all set.

Keep those wheels turnin'

 Check your tyre pressure and tread depth before you set off on long journeys

Check your tyre pressure before you head off on a long journey and if you don’t have all-season tyres consider swapping them for some winter-ready ones. RAC recommend a tread depth of at least 3mm so if you notice yours looking a bit bald, it might be worth replacing them.

Why not keep some winter salt handy in your car boot? Sprinkle some over snow or ice if you’re struggling to move off in the morning.

B&M Top Tip: If you find yourself skidding on icy roads, remember not to slam on. It’s best not to touch your brakes at all; just turn into the slide, turning your wheel in the same direction in which the back of the vehicle is sliding.

Are you comfortable?

It’s important to stay alert while driving, but this is much harder to do if you’re cold. Your car heating system will help you stay warm, but why not add an extra layer of comfort with this RAC Heated Car Seat Cushion?

In case of emergency

Make sure you have the right equipment and clothing to deal with breaking down in cold weather.

Despite taking all of the above measures, you never quite know what’s going to happen once you hit the road. Should your car break down, it’s wise to have some emergency supplies stashed away in the boot.

Booster cables, RAC 5-in1 Jump Start Kit, spare car bulbs and torches are all handy to have when you want to get your pride and joy back on the road. But don’t forget about you and your family. Being stuck on the motorway hard shoulder with no battery isn’t fun, so you’ll want plenty of warm clothing while you wait.

Keep a couple of spare blankets in the boot along with extra hats and gloves – you never know how long you’ll be waiting!

B&M Top Tip: If you’re off on a long car journey, plan your route in advance and stick to major roads – country lanes and B roads are less likely to be gritted.


Have we missed anything? How do you kick-start your day on frosty mornings? Share your winter car care tips with the B&M community on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!