Preparing for Winter
Updated: Jul 23, 2019
You’re more likely to break down in a bad winter – here’s what you need to do this winter to reduce the risk of a breakdown and make sure that you are equipped to deal with the conditions.
Check your car
Antifreeze – check coolant level regularly and, if required, top-up with a mixture of the correct type of antifreeze. Your garage should check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.
Battery – the most common cause of winter breakdowns. A battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold – get it checked and replaced if necessary to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned failure.
Fuel – keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delay.
Lights – check and clean all lights regularly to make sure you can see and be seen clearly. Carry spare bulbs.
Tyres – should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Consider winter tyres for improved safety. Check pressures at least every fortnight.
Windscreen – reduce dazzle from the low sun by keeping the screen clean inside and out. Now is a good time to renew worn wiper blades.
Screen wash – use a 50% mix of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.
Locks and door seals – stop doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will help stop them freezing.
You and your passengers
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. As well as the things you should be carrying on every journey regardless of the weather, you should make up a winter emergency kit to keep in the boot – hopefully you won’t need it but you will be very glad it’s there if you do.
Fully-charged mobile phone and in-car charger
Sunglasses – to deal with glare from the sun or snow
First aid kit
Road atlas – in case of diversions
Sat-nav or printed route for unfamiliar journeys
Breakdown membership card
Winter Emergency Kit
Blanket, rug or sleeping bag
Bits of carpet or thick cardboard to place under driven wheels to help regain traction on ice or snow
Salt, sand or cat litter – to help clear snow and ice
Ice scraper and de-icer
Torch and batteries
Snow chains (if you live in a remote or rural area)
Battery jump leads
Snacks – chocolate or cereal bars
Extra screen wash