You wouldn’t go out into the cold weather wearing a pair of flip flops, cut-off jeans and a t-shirt, so why drive in the snow and ice with your car in its summertime state? There are a number of things that you can do to your vehicle to make sure that you don’t get into any cold weather related scrapes. Even though you can’t wrap your car up in a giant blanket or put all weather Ugg boots on the tyres – by following our simple steps you’ll be well ahead of the last minute masses.
Top Up Your Battery
During the colder months the chemical reactions that happen within your battery are slowed down due to the drop in temperature. This means that your battery will have to work harder during winter to supply your car with charge, and you may find that you’ll experience some real difficulties starting a vehicle with an older battery after a particularly frosty morning. The best thing to do here is to ensure that your battery is fully charged, and if it’s getting old then this could be an ideal time to look for a replacement.
If you’re driving through freezing conditions and snow or sleet starts to pelt down from the skies above then you’ll need your windscreen wipers. It is possible to purchase special heavy duty blades that have been designed and engineered to cut through the snow and ice on your windscreen. You can double their effectiveness by adding special fluid to your windscreen wash reservoir that will prevent it from freezing in the harshest conditions as well as helping the blades get rid of ice and snow on your screen.
Locks and Hinges
There is nothing worse than getting stuck in your car at winter – except for getting stuck outside your car with a frozen lock. You’ll want to avoid getting your lips fixed onto cold metal as you desperately try to defrost the moving parts with your warm breath. By spraying a lubricant such as the well known WD40 into your car’s keyholes and around the moving parts of the door mechanism, you can prevent any embarrassing moments where you might have to have the fire brigade called out to cut you free from your vehicle.
If you live in an area that’s very prone to cold weather and snow and is isolated from the kind of gritting services that many drivers are blessed with in their local area, then you may want to consider investing in a set of winter tyres. These are made from a special rubber compound that retains its flexibility in the cold, and grips the road more effectively than all season or summer tyres. Even if you don’t think that you’ll need winter tyres, it is still important to check that the tread is good on your existing tyres as grip in cold conditions is a vital factor in reducing braking distances.
It’s a good idea to carry a number of different items in your car in case you get stranded in the snow. Whilst it is unlikely that you’ll get stuck in your car for more than 24 hours, there are some things you can take with you to make any forced stop into a less harrowing experience. These include:
– Battery Operated Phone Charger – Nothing is worse than your phone giving up on you when you need it most. You can now purchase a number of small battery operated phone chargers that will trickle enough power into your iPhone or Android for you to make that vital call to tell people of your predicament.
– Comfort Kit – If you’re going to have to spend some time in a cold car, stranded and in the dark, then there are a few things that could make your unscheduled pause a little more comfortable, such as a blanket, torch, chocolate bars and bottles of water.
– Safety Stuff – There are also a number of items you can carry in you car to help you out of a sticky situation. A bag of salt, a shovel and a high visibility sign will all aid you if you’re stuck by the side of the road. The salt and shovel will give you a great chance of getting out of trouble on your own, and if you can’t escape the snow, then the high visibility sign will alert other motorists to your presence.
Keep Your Coat On
Most motorists take pride in their car’s good looks. A car is a considerable investment, especially if purchased new. Salt and grit on the road can cause damage to your car’s paint work, especially if you get splashes of concentrated salt solution on the bodywork. Prevention is better than cure as they say and you can keep your vehicle in tip top condition by giving it a clean and a coat of wax before you embark on the winter roads, as this will form a barrier between your car’s precious paintwork and the icy, salty conditions of the nation’s roads.
Finally – Is Your Journey Necessary?
There is one final way you can avoid any winter-time driving trouble and that’s by not using your car at all. If the road ways are incredibly treacherous then you may find that you can protect yourself by delaying your trip. If there’s any chance you could make your excursion at another time then postpone it – there’s no point taking any undue risks and when it comes to winter road safety it really is better to be safe than sorry.