Get your car ready for winter

  • How to stay safe on the road
  • Avoiding common problems with common sense
  • Simple advice to keep you motoring when conditions deteriorate

Winter exposes your car to particularly harsh conditions and places unique demands on drivers, making it more important than ever that you keep your car in the best possible condition and prepare yourself for every eventuality. Here's our winter driving checklist:

• Regularly check tyre pressures and condition, brakes and brake lights, and ensure the battery is fully charged.

• Top up your radiator with anti-freeze - your local garage will be able to check that it's the right concentration.

• Ensure your tyres have plenty of tread (1.6mm across three-quarters of the tyre, all the way round, is the legal minimum. We’d recommend more, though – at least 3mm).

• Check your foglights, but be sure to use them only when visibility is poor, because they can dazzle other road users and make your brake lights difficult to see.

• Check your windscreen wipers. It’s important they don’t smear dirt on the screen. If wipers aren’t clearing the screen properly, clean them first, then replace them if that doesn’t work. Perished or split wiper blades should also be replaced immediately.

• You’ll use far more screenwash than normal because of the spray thrown up by damp, salty roads, so make sure you keep it topped up. Also make sure it's of a high enough concentration so it won't freeze.

• Check oil levels. Ensure you use the correct engine oil, because cold weather can make it thicken.

• Tune your radio to the latest traffic information - there are more accidents and hold-ups in winter.

• Carry de-icer and a windscreen scraper. Ensure you can see through all windows before driving off.

• Always leave enough time to thoroughly demist the inside of the car. Don’t drive off until you have good all round visibility and the car’s blower is expelling hot air, so that mist can’t build up again.

• Keep sunglasses in the car – they can help you cope with glare from a low sun, especially if it is being reflected off snow or rain.

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