As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. And when it comes to looking after your vehicle this winter, never is this truer. By following a few simple steps before the cold really kicks in, you can potentially save yourself hundreds of pounds in damages, repairs and fines.
iCarhireinsurance, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, have compiled this easy to follow infographic to help ensure you are in the know this winter.
Please scroll down to view the graphic and to get further information.
Before Setting Off
- Windscreen - make sure it is 100% clear of any snow, ice of mist before setting off.
- Tyres - Check that they are inflated to the recommended PSI, this can be found in your car's user manual. Also ensure that the tread on all tyres is above 2mm in depth.
- Lights - Check all light bulbs are working and clear of snow, ice and mist.
- Washer fluid - during the winter months ensure that you use a premix of water and antifreeze for the washing fluid so that the reservior doesn't freeze.
- Engine - Make sure the engine is ticking over smoothly and not stuttering or stalling.
- Brake fluid - Check that the brake fluid is topped up.
- Oil - Again check that this hasn't fallen below the minimum level
- Battery - Keep the car ticking over for a few mintues before setting off to allow the battery time to charge.
- Coolant - Check that the coolant is at a healthy level and hasn't frozen.
Fill your boot with essential supplies
- Spade or Shovel
- Tow Rope
- Snow Spikes
- Tyre Socks
- Bottle of Water
- Sleeping Bag
Warning signs that could mean internal components are frozen
- Water Pump - if you hear a continuous squealing noise coming from the bonnet this could be a sign that the water pump is frozen. If you hear this noise stop the vehicle immediately and wait until water pump thaws out.
- Radiator - if your vehicle begins to overheat shortly after you take off then your radiator may be frozen and is preventing coolant from circulating. If this happens pull over immediately to avoid causing serious damage to your vehicle.
- Cylinder Block - when your cylinder block freezes it will make a similar noise to that which the water pump makes when it's frozen. If this happens stop the vehicle immediately and if possible store it in a heated garage to thaw out - this could take a few days in severe cases.
Antifreeze would help prevent all the above from happening!
It only costs a few pounds to buy and could save you hundreds of pounds in damages if used. Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze however some types of antifreeze may need changed after 2 years. Make sure you check the manufacturer's manual to check for recommendations.
Driving in winter conditions
- Clear snow off the roof and bonnet to avoid visibility being impaired or putting other motorists in danger.
- Drive slower than you would normally when driving in winter conditions.
- Your windscreen may mist up whilst in transit so be sure to keep your car heating on if you don't have a heated windshield.
- Use low gears when driving in snow or ice to maximise traction and to bring the vehicle to a stop quicker.
Driving in Europe? Know before you go!
EU laws regarding winter tyres and snow chain requirements are as follows:
- Germany - Must have winter or all season tyres (M+S*) fitted during winter seasons.
- France - Carry snow chains and use as directed by local signs.
- Switzerland - Carry snow chains and use as directed by local signs. Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory.
- Andorra - Carry snow chains and use as directed by local signs.
- Italy - Carry snow chains and use as directed by local road signs. Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory.
- Austria - Must have winter tyres (M+S*) fitted on snow covreed roads from 1st Nov - 15th Apr.
- Finland - Must have winter tyres (M+S*) fitted from 1st Dec - last day of Feb unless otherwise stated on road signs.
- Sweden - Must have winter tyres (M+S*) fitted from 1st Dec - 31st Mar unless otherwise stated on road signs.
- Norway - Carry snow chains and use as directed by local signs. Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory.