Published on December 24th, 2014 | by admin

Is Your Car Ready For Winter?

The RAC has predicted that 12 million cars will be on the roads between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day alone. And motorists need to be aware that during the winter months, breakdowns rise significantly (by more than 25% compared with the rest of the year) and many of these could be avoided if we were all better equipped to cope from the outset.

If the worse DOES happen it is certainly worth having warm clothing to hand as well as a torch and snow shovel. In addition it’s sensible to have supplies of bottled water and snacks to hand in case of unexpected journey delays.

What’s more we should all be undertaking some basic vehicle checks at this time of year and have a winter driving kit to hand including De-icer spray, ice scraper and screen wash:

Antifreeze: Protection against cold temperatures is vital. Coolant is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol with a convective heat transfer capability, which helps provide a car radiator system with all year round protection against winter freezing (as well as summer overheating). Modern cars use long-life antifreeze and in winter you need a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system. Antifreeze also contains anti-corrosion additives which protect an engine cooling system from rust and corrosion. Around 60% of engine failures are due to cooling system problems, so using the correct type of coolant as detailed in the vehicle handbook is vital as well as adhering to the correct ratio of diluted solution with good quality water advised.

Tyres: The recommended tread for winter driving is 3mm and at least 2mm as a minimum. Decreasing tyre pressure reduces stability and doesn’t allow for improved grip. However an alternative measure to consider for assured handling in trying conditions is changing to winter or all season tyres.

Screen wash: The car windscreen rapidly becomes dirty, which affects visibility, and so requires regular cleaning when driving in winter. It is important to use a higher concentration of screen wash in winter to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.

Before starting your journey:  Ensure all the windows are completely clear of snow and ice using an ice scraper and de-icer. Don’t forget to also clear snow accumulations from the roof and bonnet of your vehicle too or risk incurring a £60 fine and three points on your license. Rule 229 of the Highway Code states that drivers should ‘remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users’.

Finally, precaution is crucial as stopping distances can be 10 times longer in ice and snow than normal driving conditions. Simple steps to take include pulling away in second gear to avoid wheel spins, applying brakes gently, reducing speed on inclines and leaving greater distances to the car in front.

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