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10 steps to prepare your car for winter !

1. Get your car serviced

If your car is due a service, get it done before the winter.

Cold weather can cause lots of problems for cars, up to half of them could have been prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks according to the AA Breakdown & Recovery

Take advantage of the free or discounted 'winter car checks' offered by or local garage’s we recommend small independent family run garages such as Manchester MOT & Service Centre, Whitefield

2. Check the battery

The battery should be the first point to check !! Batteries have an effective life of around five years.

During the winter months it suffers from a double whammy of cold temperatures - reducing the output - and the increased use of lights, heater and blower, which place it under additional strain.

Your car will probably give some clues that it’s having problems starting – a battery it easily tested and not really expensive to replace.

If your car won't start because of a flat battery, you can try giving it a jump start.

3. Top up engine coolant with antifreeze

Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.

You will need to top it up with antifreeze as it becomes diluted over time,  People make the mistake of topping up with water during the year, so the antifreeze gets over-diluted and freezes during very cold weather. This can lead to the engine over-heating and a very large repair bill.

The average price for 5 litre of antifreeze is around £ 10 and available to purchase from most supermarkets.

4. Check the condition of your tyres

As a car’s tyres are key to both steering and braking, it is essential they are in good condition.

Check tyres for pressure and tread depth

The AA recommend a minimum of 3mm depth during the winter, compared to the legal minimum of 1.6mm, as this gives better grip.

You could also look at changing from summer to winter tyres, as these also offer increased group in snow slush or ice.

5. Clean your lights

Check that all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean.

Make sure there are no cracked lenses or blown bulbs visibility is key to driving in the dark.

And don’t forget to check full beam headlights, fog lights and indicators – you just never know when the weather conditions can take a turn for the worst.

6. Wash your windscreen and wipers

Give your windscreen a thorough clean inside and out and top up your screen washer fluid with antifreeze.

Run your finger down the wiper blades to check for nicks and tears, check for any chips in the windscreen, as these can grow in the cold weather. Also touch up any chips in the bodywork as the salt deposits on the road will attack these.

7. Prepare for longer journeys

Before setting off on a longer journey, check the weather forecast, travel news and safest routes.

Also, Allow extra journey time to avoid having to rush.

Clear all windows of snow and ice using a scraper and de-icer, and ensure you have antifreeze in your car

8. Carry a winter car breakdown kit

This should include a shovel, torch, blanket, hi-visibility vest, screenwash, food and drink supplies, scraper and de-icer, and snow grips for your shoes in case you need to walk to safety.

And don't forget a fully charged mobile phone.

Drive according to the road and weather conditions, common sense needs to prevail to reduce the number of accidents, so slow down, stay alert, and stay in control.

9. Check your cover

Comprehensive breakdown cover is crucial at this time of year and will give you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t end up stranded in the cold.

So check your policy and remember to take a contact phone number with you on all journeys.

10. Other important areas

Also, keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in case of unexpected delay and check the oil.

If you have a bit of motor know-how, check your brake pads, brake discs and brake fluid to ensure the brakes are fast and responsive.

Ensure the fan belt and alternator drive belts are tight and not worn and that plugs and other leads are in good condition and secure.

If you don't feel confident making these checks, any garage should be able to help.