Photo: Adobe Stock
The thought of car troubles during winter, can send cold shivers down the spine of even the bravest among us.
Photo: Adobe Stock
While people will ensure they are protected against the cold, they forget about their vehicles, and that these valuable assets also need some care against the elements at this time of year.
The Automobile Association (AA) has the following tips for car owners to help negotiate the cold weather a little better:
Batteries tend to give more problems during winter because of the increased amps drawn by the starter to crank the cold engine. The last thing you want on a cold winter’s day is to be stuck with no power to get you moving. To avoid this, ensure you battery is in good working condition.
If you struggle to start your vehicle, do not crank the engine continuously as this may damage the starter, battery, and other electronic components.
Always ensure your tyres are in a good condition, and not worn down. Worn tyres are extremely dangerous in all conditions, but this danger can be multiplied in wet, snowy, and icy conditions.
Check that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, as this will ensure optimal road holding and tyre life.
It is also a good idea to ensure you tyres are in a good condition because the law requires it and you may face stiff penalties if you are stopped and your tyres are found to be sub-standard. The law says your tyres must have at least a one millimetre tread.
Some tyres have tread wear indicators in the tread pattern to show when the tread depth is less that 1.6mm. In these cases, if the tread is level with this indicators, the tyre must be replaced as it is considered unroadworthy.
Your insurance policy may also require that your car is roadworthy before you drive it, and worn tyres may void that condition.
During winter, many motorists will leave for work in the morning while it is still dark outside.
Ensure the car’s headlights are working properly. Also ensure that you switch the headlights off when you reach your destination as you may have left them on after the sun came out during your journey. Park facing a wall if you can, the reflection of the lights will act as a reminder to switch them off.
If your car is parked outside overnight, you may have a layer of frost on the windscreen. Do not use warm water to clean this layer, your windscreen may crack. Instead use a scrapper (an old credit card will do) to remove the ice. Using the air-conditioner to demist the interior of the car will also help. Make sure it is clear before you drive.
Avoid using the windscreen sprayers when driving in cold conditions as the water from the reservoir will freeze onto the windscreen, and the wipers will not be able to clear the ice.
Importantly, check the condition of your wiper blades and replace them if needed, and avoid cleaning mud and soil from the windscreen with the wipers as these can scratch the glass.
If possible, park your car undercover at night to ensure your windscreen remains clear the next morning.
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