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10 Winter Car Checks to get Your Car ready for Winter. Checklist

Winter Car Checks

It’s the winter period again, and you might be thinking of checklists of items to get your car ready for winter or to keep yourself, and other road users safe. We already know the importance of Car Maintenance. But given the increased strain and demand expected of driving in the extremely cold and snowy winter months, we want to pay more attention to our vehicles by making sure we’ve completed any necessary winter car checks.

Top 10 Winter Car Checks

We’ve listed below the 10 most important winter car checks to have a smooth, comfortable, and safe driving in this winter season. if you are interested in their details? you can scroll down to read further.

1. Schedule a Winter Car Checks

The first item on our list is to book your car for winter car checks at your local service center or garage. It is recommended to have your car regular maintenance booked before winter starts to avoid any potential breakdown or warning. To keep your engine running in the winter season, you want to make sure your car components listed below are all checked and working optimally

2. Keep Tires in Good Shape with Wheel Alignment:

Keep tires in good shape
Car Tire. Pexels Image

The quality of your tires would greatly determine how safe you can drive on wet and wintery roads as worn tires are dangerous. Tires are the major part of your car that makes contact with the road, so you need to keep them in good condition by booking a wheel alignment service as one of the critical winter car maintenance checklists. Make sure your tires have sufficient air pressure right for your car as recommended in your car’s Handbook.

To know if your car tires are good enough for winter driving, you need to make sure your tires’ tread depth does not go below the legal minimum tread depth allowable requirement in your country/region.

Country/RegionMinimum Tread Depth
USA2/32 of an Inch
United Kingdom UK1.6mm
Europe1.6mm
Indian1.6mm

check the tread during your next wheel alignment service to keep your car running this season.

You might consider getting a winter tire as snow tires have more effective tread patterns and more grooves that help them bite into snow and ice more effectively.

In addition, it’s important to monitor your tires for cuts, punctures, cracks, and signs of wear and tear, through physical observation and looking at your dashboard warning light as this will give you an indication of any problem. If you notice any sign of defect on any tire, you should consider changing it ASAP. Don’t forget to check your spare tire too.

As a reminder, its always best to keep at least a 4-second stopping distance when driving on a wet floor and a 10-second distance when driving on an icy road for driving safely in winter. Stopping distance is the time it takes for your car brake to stop the car.

3. Wiper Blade Replacement for Clearer Visibility

Wiper Blade for Clearer Visibility
Clear Visibility. Pexels Image

Due to the constant throwing of dirt and salt, in wet and winter periods, your windshield naturally would be dirtier compared to any other season; hence, having a wiper blade replacement would be one of the winter car checks to keep your windscreen clean and visibility clear.

However, to effectively achieve a clear windshield, you need to be sure there is plenty of life in your wiper rubber blade. Replace any bad wiper blades with high quality ones, and make sure to top up your washer fluid reservoir regularly so you don’t run out of wash fluid while on the road.

You can detect a bad wiper when you start noticing some rubbing, squeaking, rattling wipers noise or does a poor windscreen cleaning job when switched on. You may consider getting a winter wiper blade instead as they are more suitable for winter weather.

4. Check your Brakes

Check your Brakes
Brake System. Pexels Image

Your brakes should be in good condition at all times. With winter closing in, there would be more need to apply the brakes when driving as you need to keep enough distance from the car in front of you.

Have you noticed any squeaking noise or tilting of your car toward one side whenever you apply the brakes? This could be signs that you need to examine your brakes. You can read more on Signs of Car brake problems and how to fix them.

5. Check your Antifreeze

Car Antifreeze
Pexels Image

Checking your antifreeze level is one of the critical winter car checks to complete. You could experience a major problem with your vehicle heater system if you don’t have adequate level of antifreeze in your car. There will be instances when the temperature drops that you would need to warm up your vehicle to get on the road, so you need to be sure your car heating systems are working optimally during cold weather.

Don’t forget to take your car to your local garage to carry out an antifreeze test, and please remember to check your owner’s manual for the recommended antifreeze mixture and level. You also need to check the cooling system to ensure the coolant hoses, radiator, coolant gas, and water pumps are working optimally.

6. Car Battery Checks

The increased need for heat and light when driving in the winter season would put a lot of pressure on your car battery. If you suspect your car battery is beginning to deteriorate, battery not fully charged, or you noticed a battery warning light on your dashboard, it might be time to check the cause (as battery issues could result from a faulty alternator) or have a battery replacement. Get a new battery recommended by your car handbook.

Car Battery Deterioration Signs

Car Battery Checks
Battery. Google

  • Appearance of battery warning light on dashboard
  • Rotten egg smell when you open the hood
  • Appearance of a white corrosive substance on the connector
  • Dim headlight
  • Electrical issues
  • Wrapped battery case
  • Clicking noise when you turn the key ignition
  • Difficult to start car.

Regardless of the state of your battery, it is advisable to keep a portable jump start pack in your car should your battery get drained unexpectedly. Having your car battery checked is one of the critical winter car checks to carry out.

7. Pay attention to Dashboard warning lights

Dashboard warning lights
Dashboard. Pexels

Many drivers still do not understand some of their Dashbaord warning lights. The lights are there to inform you of any potential hazard and help you take appropriate action. It’s high time you check your vehicle’s manual to have a good understanding of each light. If any light appears, get it checked out and fixed as soon as possible.

Generally, any orange or yellow light on your dashboard is a warning signal that you need to service or repair your car.

8. Keep your Light in Good Condition and Number Plate Clean.

Headlight in good condition
Headlight. Pexel

Cars naturally get dirtier in winter because of the salt, road grime, ice and snow, and dirt buildup. To safely drive your car this winter season, you need to take extra care to wash the car in order to keep your number plates and lights clear and visible.

A dirty headlamp can cause a 40% reduction in luminosity. Some car comes with headlamp washer but if yours doesn’t, you can wipe it with a cloth or tissue. Also, keep in mind that you could get penalized for driving with unreadable plates. Lastly, get someone to help you confirm that all your lights are working properly.

It’s best to have your car washed more frequently during this period or visit a car wash close to you.

9. Lubricate Locks, Hinges, and Seals

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Lubricants

You might have experienced some difficulty with opening your house entrance door during winter. Similar situation could pan out with cars as the cold winter conditions could have an effect on the lock components thereby making it difficult to open your car door. To get your car moving smoothly in this cold weather, you can apply silicone lubricant on hinges, linkages, seals, and locks.

Avoid using Vaseline or WD-40 because they are not suitable car lubricant substitutes.

10 Get a Snow Chains.

Winter Tire Chain
Tire Chain. Google

If you reside or drive in an environment prone to high snowfall, you may consider getting a snow chain to prevent your tires from skidding as they give enough traction and grip to the road surface which helps to prepare your car for safe driving.

Winter Car Emergency Kit

Emergencies happen at the least expected time. With the increased risk of driving in winter, having a winter emergency car kit is a safe means to prepare for winter. Winter emergency kit is a survival kit that will help you get back on the road safely and quickly should you get stuck, have a punctured tire, empty fuel tank, winter storm, or have any other emergency while driving on winter roads. Make sure the emergency kit has adequate supplies as recommended by the National Emergency Council some of which include the following

  • Blankets, socks, mittens, and hats,
  • Ice scraper and snow scraper,
  • Jumper cables,
  • flashlights plus extra batteries,
  • First-aid kit, (containing the basic and an up to date first-aid kit requirement )
  • Bottled water,
  • Windshield cleaner
  • Multi tools
  • Reflective warning triangles

Conclusion

While we recommend you follow your car maintenance guides as stated in your car manual to keep your car up and running at all times, the above checklist is a comprehensive list of everything you need for safe winter driving.

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