Is there anything worse than breaking down? Yes. Breaking down in the Winter. Did you know you’re twice as likely to break down in Winter months? Follow the Hippo Motor Finance Winter survival guide to ensure you’re doing everything possible to get your car geared up for the upcoming cold months.
In the winter months, dead batteries are the most common cause for breakdowns. Lights, heating and windscreen wipers are all used more than usual and this increases the load on the car’s battery. You should check the state of the battery or leave it to the experts.
If your battery has caused problems in the past, or if you haven’t driven in a long time, charge it thoroughly before winter or even consider buying a new one. Replacing batteries can be relatively cheap and could save the hassle of a breakdown.
Antifreeze prevents the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing. It is important to check that it’s topped up before temperatures drop. The coolant/antifreeze level should be within the min and max marker. Your local garage should be able to tell you how much coolant/antifreeze is in the system.
Check your car’s tyre pressures whenever you set off on a long journey as these can change with the drop of temperature with the changing of the seasons. Also, check the tread depth meets the legal minimum – 1.6mm. Although, for good grip on wet roads it’s best to replace tyre once the tread depth reaches 2.0mm.
No matter what the weather condition is, it’s important to make sure you can see and be seen on the road.
Check all your exterior lights are working and keep them clean. Salt and dirt can build-up, reducing the effectiveness of the lights and your visibility to other users. If any bulbs aren’t working, they’re pretty straightforward to replace, or you can usually pay a small fee to have this done at a garage or service centre.
In poor weather conditions, road salt is spread on the roads. This salt will accelerate the corrosion of your car’s external surfaces. Preparing a car thoroughly before the onset of winter will reduce the harmful effects of increased grime, road salt and low temperatures. Using a specially formulated PH-neutral car shampoo, followed by a sealant, will protect the exterior paintwork.
Windscreen and wiper blades
To ensure maximum visibility, clear any ice or snow from your windscreen and window using a scraper and bottle of de-icer. Avoid using boiling water on the glass as it could result in cracks.
Ideally, wipers should be replaced once a year. If the rubber blade starts to wear low it won’t remove, water, ice and snow efficiently. Lifting the wipers up every so often will prevent ice build-up and stop them from sticking to the windscreen.
Here’s a checklist of essentials you should carry in your car this Winter:
- Ice scraper
- A torch and batteries
- First aid kit
- Warm clothing
- Mobile phone and charger
- A snow shovel
- Hi-visibility jacket or hazard warning triangle
Of course, having a reliable vehicle is another essential to tackling breakdowns this winter. Check out our top reliable vehicle picks here.
If reliability is a priority for you, we have a huge range of car finance deals on offer for you. Enquire here or give us a call on 01254 956 777.